By Peter Loftus
Novavax Inc. said Tuesday its experimental coronavirus vaccine induced promising immune responses and was generally well-tolerated in healthy adults in the first human study of the shot.
Two weeks after taking a second dose, most vaccinated subjects had high levels of so-called neutralizing antibodies, which are immune-system agents believed to be most effective at fighting the virus, according to results in a paper that Novavax /zigman2/quotes/202614340/composite NVAX +4.40% submitted to the preprint server medRxiv, with hopes of publishing it in a peer-reviewed journal.
The antibody concentrations were similar to those seen in serum samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and exceeded levels seen in non-hospitalized patients, according to the paper, which hasn’t yet been reviewed by independent experts.
“It’s highly immunogenic,” or able to produce immune responses, Gregory Glenn, Novavax’s president of research and development, said in an interview. The vaccine also induced a favorable type of response from other components of the immune system, known as T-cells, which researchers think may help avoid a rare complication when a vaccine worsens the severity of disease.
Novavax, of Gaithersburg, Md., said the results support further testing, including a large, 30,000-person final-stage study slated to start in the fall. That study will test whether the immune responses triggered by the vaccine safely protect people from Covid-19.
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