A Moth And A Covid-19 vaccine

February 1, 2022

Like A Moth To A Flame

How the latest company seeking emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine harnessed the power of … insects?

The Basics:

  • Who: Novavax, a vaccine company based in Maryland.
  • What: Created a COVID-19 vaccine without using mRNA vaccine technology (unlike Pfizer & Moderna). Instead, the protein-based vaccine uses a more “traditional” approach by exposing the body to small particles of the coronavirus.
  • How: The vaccine uses a “piece” of the spike protein engineered & harvested from moths to prime your immune system response.

How It Works:

  • A two-dose vaccine, about 3 weeks apart.
  • Clinical studies show it to be around 90% effective in preventing infection.
  • However, recent studies occurred in 2021 – before Omicron. Similar to other vaccines, studies showed that “most breakthrough cases were caused by contemporary [new] variant strains.”
  • Side Effects: generally mild to moderate. No reports of a link to side effects such as anaphylaxis, myocarditis or pericarditis, clotting, or Guillain-Barré.
"Among several wonderful options, the more old-school vaccine from Novavax combines ease of manufacture with high efficacy and lower side effects."

Scientist and writer Hilda Bastian reflecting in June 2021 on Novavax and the vaccine race. She added that the technology used by Novavax has been utilized for decades for vaccines such as Hep-B & pertussis. And while complimentary of the mRNA vaccines available, she added, “Some of those people who have been wary of getting the mRNA vaccines may find Novavax more appealing.”

Why Did It Take So Long?

Logistics (in part). Novavax did not have vaccine manufacturing facilities, nor the team to support production.

Meanwhile, Novavax has applied for emergency use authorization in the U.S. for those 18 and older, and has been granted either emergency use of authorization or approval/temp. approval for use in the EU, South Korea, Australia, India, & the Philippines.

Novavax seeks FDA emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine

Here’s the info of efficacy and side effects

by Jenna Lee,