Novavax is developing a vaccine candidate against Covid-19 and seasonal flu

A combined vaccine against both Covid-19 and seasonal flu is showing promising results in studies, according to the American drug developer Novavax. The adjuvant, which forms an essential part of the vaccine, originates from Sweden.

Novavax’s protein-based Covid-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid is approved for use in the EU and has been available in Sweden since March, but so far, demand has been limited. However, the company has more vaccine projects in the making.

Development of a combined Covid-19 and influenza vaccine (CIC) is currently underway, and is being evaluated in a phase I/II study. Positive data from the study were presented on Tuesday.

“Today’s results demonstrate that our combined vaccine for Covid-19 influenza is practicable, well-tolerated and immunogenic and that it elicits antibody, as well as T-cell responses,” said Gregory M. Glenn, Director of Research and Development at Novavax, in a press release.

The dose experiment from the phase 1/2 study will form the basis for a confirmatory phase 2 study which, according to the company’s plan, is scheduled to begin at the end of 2022.

“As we now shift from a sars-cov-2 pandemic to endemic circulation, we believe that our protein-based combined vaccine candidate can contribute to our ability to address two global public health threats with one vaccine,” he says.

The adjuvant that Novavax uses for its vaccines is called Matrix-M and was developed by a research group at SLU, the Swedish University of Agriculture, in the 1990s. The Uppsala company Isconova was formed around this invention, which in turn was bought by the American Novavax in 2013.

Matrix-M has already been used in the company’s seasonal flu vaccine. The active substances are saponins extracted from the soap tree (Quillaia saponaria), which are formulated with lipids into small nanoparticles, which stimulate our immune system.

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