Novavax saw its stock surge by over 13% on Tuesday after the biotech firm announced positive results from small animal trials of its updated Covid vaccine. The new vaccine demonstrated a robust immune response against the prominent Eris variant and another rapidly spreading strain known as omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.
The vaccine has been specifically designed to target the XBB.1.5 subvariant, which is currently on the decline across the nation. However, the trial outcomes suggest that the updated vaccine could potentially remain effective against newer Covid variants that are gaining ground in the United States, including Eris and another subvariant, XBB.1.16.6. Both Eris and XBB.1.16.6 are offshoots of the omicron variant.
In the coming weeks, Novavax’s revised vaccine, alongside new formulations from Pfizer and Moderna, is expected to be introduced in the U.S., pending approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pfizer and Moderna have also presented initial trial data indicating their vaccines’ efficacy against the Eris variant, with Moderna having the advantage of human trial data.
Filip Dubovsky, Novavax’s President of Research and Development, expressed confidence in the updated Covid vaccine, affirming that the company is working closely with global regulatory authorities to ensure its availability in the upcoming fall season.
While the Eris and various XBB subvariants have led to a slight increase in hospitalizations and cases in the U.S., the figures remain below last year’s summer peak that strained healthcare facilities. Eris also recognized as EG.5, accounted for 17.3% of all cases based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization has classified Eris as a “variant of interest,” signaling ongoing monitoring for potentially severe mutations. Similarly, the XBB.1.16.6 subvariant is experiencing a surge, contributing to 8% of all cases nationwide as of the reported date.
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