Novavax And Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccines Are Less Effective Against The UK And South African Variants

After an estimated 98 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in 62 countries, two more vaccine candidates aim to join the fight. Novavax and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have released preliminary efficacy data from their large scale phase 3 trials. These two vaccines are particularly interesting in that they both keep in mind and track efficacy against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants from the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351). Their efficacy estimates present critical insights for the potential immune-resistance of these variants.

The vaccines, first and foremost, were effective in protecting against the most widely circulating strains. From their phase 3 UK trial, the two-dose Novavax vaccine recorded a 95.6% efficacy in preventing Covid-19 symptoms in cases with the original UK virus. For J&J, their vaccine efficacy was lower for the most widely circulating strains but was still moderately effective at around 70%. We need as many efficacious vaccines available as possible; adding two more is a positive development.

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© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.