Covid-19 vaccine: J&J best for outbreak; Novavax vaccine better protection

Monday, 08 Feb, 2021

The headline Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted from his news conference Tuesday was one heralding Canada's return to our glory days as a domestic vaccine producer in the fight against COVID-19.

The Northwest Territories says a delay in shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Canada means the territory will receive fewer doses than expected this month.

Canada's top doctor warned provinces against easing stringent public health measures Saturday, just as the premier of one of the provinces hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic said he hoped to do exactly that in a little over a week.

The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, which received a $46-million funding boost from Ottawa last year, could now produce 40 million doses a year, and Precision NanoSystems in Vancouver, which got a federal grant of $23 million, can produce 240 million doses.

The prime minister also announced investments in biomanufacturing projects to "bring back the vaccine manufacturing capacity that Canadians expect and need". The Novavax vaccines that will be produced in Montreal are therefore not part of this plan, we conceded to the federal government.

Health officials in the province also said two cases of the virus variant first detected in the United Kingdom has been identified in the Regina zone.

The travel restrictions come amid a temporary slowdown of vaccine deliveries from Canada's two approved vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, and fear that the importation of new variants could derail the progress made against the disease in recent weeks. "Establishing a manufacturing foothold in Canada will be an important step forward in our quest to deliver an urgently needed safe and effective vaccine". It is also being tested in two ongoing Phase 2 studies that began in August: A Phase 2b trial in South Africa that demonstrated up to 60 percent efficacy against newly emerging escape variants, and a Phase 1/2 continuation in the USA and Australia.

A number of rolling reviews of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine - NVX-CoV2373 - have begun with regulatory authorities across the globe, the company announced yesterday.

The current vaccine frontrunners on the market either rely on weakened viral particles or messenger RNA to provoke an immune response, but the Novavax treatment works differently.

However, as more and more Covid-19 vaccines will be available, increased scrutiny will be placed on the fifth, sixth, and later vaccines to enter the market.

"Due to the slow vaccine roll-out, the broader domestic demand recovery is only expected to pick up momentum through 2022".

The vaccine rollout has not been without hiccups, namely a shortage in supply from Pfizer.

Neither facility is expected to be completed until at least this summer, with the new plant not expected to be finished until July.