EU Said Close to Vaccine Deal with Novavax

12.02.2021 - The EU appears to be close to signing a Covid-19 vaccine supply deal with US biotech manufacturer Novavax. The Reuters news agency cites two EU officials involved in negotiations as saying a contract could be signed next week, if not by the end of this week.

If it does come that soon, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would be ahead of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in approving it, as it was with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has still not received FDA approval. Novavax is receiving funding through the US Operation Warp Speed program.

In preliminary negotiations concluded in December 2020, Brussels agreed to buy 100 million doses and signed an option for another 100 million. Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it had launched a real-time review of Novavax’s vaccine to speed up potential approvals.

Novavax's protein-based vaccine is also in rolling reviews in the UK and the US. The company has started submitting early data on the program to authorities, and the reviews are meant to speed up the process for potential emergency use authorizations. The vaccine is in Phase 3 testing in the UK and US.

In clinical trials, preliminary data showed the vaccine to be 89.3% effective in preventing Covid-19 in a trial conducted in the UK, and nearly as effective in protecting against the more highly contagious variant first discovered in Britain. However, the data showed it to only about 50% effective against the new South African variant.

The EU deal, if it goes ahead, would be the seventh signed by the European Commission for Covid vaccines. The bloc already has supply agreements with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, CureVac, Moderna and Sanofi-GSK for a total of about 2.3 billion doses.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist