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Global Economy

Novavax: Will the 5th vaccine against Covid-19 in Europe convince those who doubt?

From this Monday (February 21, 2022) the vaccine from the US manufacturer Novavax against Covid-19 will be vaccinated in Europe. It is the fifth vaccine against the coronavirus approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for adults.

According to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, Germany will initially receive 1.4 million doses and then around another million the week after. The vaccine Nuvaxovid or NVX-CoV2373 should initially be offered in several federal states primarily to unvaccinated staff in hospitals and care facilities.

In Austria – the western EU country with the lowest vaccination rate but a general vaccination requirement – tens of thousands had pre-registered for a vaccination with Novavax. The Austrian Ministry of Health has ordered 750,000 doses of Novavax for the first quarter of 2022. According to the STANDARD, this should particularly address people who have previously refused vaccination.

1.14 million doses were expected in France. More than 600,000 doses should be reserved for French overseas territories, where vaccination coverage is much lower than in the rest of the country.

No real dead vaccine

Nuvaxovid is what is known as a protein vaccine. Unlike the vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, it does not contain mRNA as a messenger substance, but introduces the "spike protein" into the body. The spike protein is transported by adjuvants or auxiliary substances – in this case saponins.

The protein is produced by moths that have previously been infected with a genetically modified baculovirus. According to experts, the Novavax vaccine is – contrary to what is often said – not a real dead vaccine. But unlike mRNA vaccines, the vaccine's nanoparticles do not contain any genetic material

"Overall, the vaccine is quite well tolerated, maybe even a tad better than an mRNA vaccination. Fever in particular occurs much less frequently," says Markus Zeitlinger, pharmacologist at Med-Uni Vienna, in the STANDARD.

Novavax 'can help overcome hesitancy'

Unlike in Canada, Australia, South Korea… Novavax has not yet been approved in the USA. But the Wall Street Journal is already celebrating the vaccine as the "New Kid on the Block."

According to the Financial Times, Greg Glenn, Novavax's chief research and development officer, explained that the vaccine could help break the hesitancy towards Covid-19 vaccines because Novavax is made using a traditional method and not the mRNA Technology. This new technology has become a target for misinformation from anti-vaccination opponents. The protein-based technology – according to Greg Glenn – could offer more durable protection against Covid without the risk of myocarditis – a heart disease associated with mRNA vaccinations.

Nuvaxovid has so far been approved in Europe for people aged 18 and over and should be given in two vaccine doses at least three weeks apart.

The company from Gaithersburg in Maryland is striving to expand the approval for adolescents and has already – as the medical journal reports – reported a high protective effect of Nuvaxovid in teenagers.

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