Israel’s Health Ministry and Novavax, Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, on Friday announced an agreement for the purchase of NVX-CoV2373, a recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine.
NVX-CoV2373 is a protein-based vaccine engineered from the genetic sequence of the first strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. NVX-CoV2373 was engineered from the genetic sequence of the initial SARS-CoV-2 viral strain, the more traditional way of producing anti-viral vaccines, unlike the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the German biotechnology company BioNTech, which is composed of nucleoside-modified mRNA (modRNA) encoding a mutated form of the full-length spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles.
Novavax has submitted NVX-CoV2373 to the US Food and Drug Administration, seeking emergency use authorization for its vaccine which was created using Novavax’s recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigens derived from the coronavirus spike protein to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. NVX-CoV2373 contains purified protein antigen and can neither replicate nor cause COVID-19.
In short, the new Novavax vaccine is less revolutionary than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and therefore may be more acceptable to anti-vaxxers who are suspicious of the BioNTech products which elicit the body’s chemistry to produce the vaccine.
“Israel has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 and has demonstrated strong leadership throughout the pandemic,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax. “We thank the Israeli Ministry of Health for their commitment to providing a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine option, based on well-understood technology, to the people of Israel.”
Under the advance purchase agreement, Novavax will provide an initial 5 million doses of its protein-based vaccine with an option for Israel to purchase an additional 5 million doses. Novavax will work with the Health Ministry to obtain the necessary authorizations and finalize plans for distribution in Israel pending regulatory approval.
The announcement of the purchase of the Novavax vaccine follows the Health Ministry’s approval given last week of offering a fourth Corona vaccine shot to individuals age 18 and older who suffer from background diseases and are at risk of serious illness, as well as people who may be “significantly” exposed to the virus in the course of their daily work. The fourth vaccine will be given on condition that four months have passed since the date of receiving the third vaccine.