Canada makes deal with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada: PM

Source: CTV News

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a deal has been struck with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, but the pharmaceutical company won’t be ready to roll out doses for several months.

The federal government has signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Novavax to pursue options to produce its COVID-19 vaccine at a new Montreal facility that is under construction.

While the prime minister is calling this a “major step forward,” it could be months before this potential first made-in-Canada vaccine candidate is approved, let alone shipped to delivery sites nationwide. This is because the new National Research Council biomanufacturing facility where the production will happen isn’t set to be completed until July.

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Once the new facility is up and running, it’s designed to produce around two million doses a month and, should the Novavax vaccine be deemed safe and effective, Trudeau says “tens of millions” of doses will be made domestically. The facility will not be able to produce MRNA vaccines, however, which are the kind of vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are supplying.

The federal government has a deal with the Maryland-based company to purchase up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate.

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Categories: Canada, Vaccine

3 replies

  1. Public Health England is investigating cases of coronavirus with ‘worrying’ new genetic changes that have been found in some regions of the UK.

    Tests show they have a mutation, called E484K, that is already seen in the South Africa variant.

    Although this change may reduce vaccine effectiveness, the current ones in use should still work, say experts.

    There have been 11 cases in Bristol and a cluster of 32 cases in Liverpool.

    Urgent testing for the South Africa variant is already starting in parts of England and could be rolled out to other areas seeing different variants with the same E484K mutation.

    Scientists working with Public Health England found a small number of cases of the UK ‘Kent’ variant with the E484K mutation – it was seen in 11 out of 214,159 samples that they tested, and predominantly from the South West of England.

    It is likely there may be more cases that haven’t yet been found. The Liverpool area has seen 32 cases of original coronavirus that have the E484K mutation too.

  2. MOSCOW—Russia’s homegrown Sputnik V vaccine showed high levels of efficacy and safety in a peer-reviewed study, handing Moscow a geopolitical coup and a potential slice of the multibillion-dollar vaccine market as it seeks to promote the Covid-19 shot abroad and curb the pandemic at home.

    Tuesday’s findings, from a preliminary analysis of a large-scale clinical trial published in the British medical journal the Lancet, demonstrated that the two-shot vaccine was 91.6% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and offered complete protection against severe cases. There were no serious side effects, the paper said. The vaccine was also found to be similarly safe and effective in elderly people.

    The endorsement of Sputnik V presents a significant victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the global vaccination race, providing a vote of confidence in the capability of Russian science and medicine and helping to deflect some of the criticism Moscow encountered for its fast-tracked development of the vaccine and lack of published trial data.

    The Russian shot’s efficacy rate is almost equal to vaccines developed by Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE , which are around 95% effective, and outshines the vaccine produced by the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC, which has published efficacy rates at between 62% to 90% in late clinical trials, with most trial results in the lower end of that range.

    Russia—the world’s fourth worst-hit country with nearly four million cases—has banked on Sputnik V to avoid new costly lockdowns as its economy reels from plummeting prices for its oil, a critical industry for the country. Authorities here plan to vaccinate 60% of the domestic population by the end of the year.

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    Novavax, one of the unexpected success stories of the Covid-19 vaccine race, is about to finish enrolling its US trial in record time, bringing it another step closer to fulfilling orders to inoculate 50m Americans. 

    The 30-year-old biotech — which has never before successfully brought a drug to market — has almost enrolled the 30,000 participants in its US trial, which began in late December, according to its chief executive, Stanley Erck.

    Novavax suffered a setback with its manufacturing that meant the trial started six to eight weeks later than planned, but it has made up some ground as participants rushed to join the trial at 115 sites in the US and Mexico.

    The Novavax jab could be the fourth to receive an emergency use authorisation in the US for Covid-19. Vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna have received emergency approval, while the regulator’s vaccine advisory group is set to meet to discuss the shot from Johnson & Johnson at the end of the month.

    And Erck said Novavax could leapfrog over rivals in the race to approval because the US Food and Drug Administration is considering authorising its use based on already-released UK trial data.

    “Nothing is cast in concrete yet, but the likelihood is they will review it very carefully,” Erck told the Financial Times.

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