(CTN News) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use for adolescents between 12 and 17 years old.
The FDA approved Novavax‘s Covid-19 vaccine for adults 18 and over in July.
As we prepare for ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks with the start of fall and the back-to-school season, more vaccine options will “hopefully help increase vaccination rates,” Stanley C. Erck, president, and CEO of Novavax said in a statement.
With $1.8 billion from Operation Warp Speed, Novavax was one of the original participants in the U.S. government’s race to develop a Covid vaccine in 2020.
However, the small Maryland biotech company struggled to quickly establish manufacturing and read out its clinical trial data later than rivals Pfizer or Moderna.
According to Dr. Peter Marks, a senior FDA official, Novavax’s vaccine could appeal to unvaccinated people who prefer shots not based on messenger RNA technology.
How Novavax is different
Pfizer and Moderna are the first FDA-approved vaccines to use mRNA, while Novavax uses more conventional protein technology used in decades-old hepatitis B and HPV vaccines.
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA, a molecule encoded with genetic instructions, to instruct human cells to make spike proteins.
As the immune system responds to these copies of the spike, the human body is prepared to attack the actual virus.
Novavax makes copies of the virus spike outside of human cells.
An insect virus containing the spike’s genetic code infects moth cells, which produce copies that are then purified and extracted during the manufacturing process.
Injecting spike copies into the human body induces an immune response against Covid.
An adjuvant is also used in the Novavax vaccine, which is extracted and purified from the bark of a tree in South America, to induce a broader immune response.
Each shot contains 5 micrograms of spike copy and 50 micrograms of adjuvant.
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