A NEW Covid vaccine is 96 per cent effective in preventing cases caused by the original version of the coronavirus, trial results show.
The UK has ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax jab which has been shown to be 100 per cent effective in preventing serious illness and death.
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The company said it hopes to begin seeking approval from regulators next month, before manufacture begins in Stockton-on-Tees this summer.
Results from the latest trials of vaccine carried out in the UK show it was 86 per cent effective in protecting against the more contagious virus variant first discovered and now prevalent here.
It has combined 90 per cent effectiveness rate overall based on data from infections of both versions of the coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the news tweeting: “Really encouraging results from @novavax tonight on its efficacy against variants.
“We’ve ordered 60 million doses & if approved by the medicines regulator it will be another boost to the UK’s vaccination rollout as we work to overcome this virus.”
Chief executive Stanley Erck, said the company “very encouraged” the vaccine protects against the most severe forms of disease and dramatically reduced mild and moderate disease.
“Today marks one year since the World Health Organization officially declared the Covid-19 pandemic, and with this data in hand, we are even more motivated to advance our vaccine as a potential weapon in the fight to end the suffering caused by Covid-19,” he said.
When the announcement was made that 60 million doses would be bought after earlier positive results, Boris Johnson hailed the “good news” and thanked the volunteers.
The results brought joy to Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who was one of 15,000 UK volunteers to take part in the Noravax trials.
“I am particularly thrilled to see such positive results,” he said.
“I want to thank the thousands of trial volunteers, without whom these results would not have been possible.”
The new results showing the jab’s effectiveness is another boost to the UK’s world-beating programme.
Around 23 million people receiving at least one dose, the third highest rate in the world.
Nearly two-thirds of over-70s now have some degree of immunity to Covid — mostly thanks to the vaccine, data reveals.
It shows 60 per cent in that age group had antibodies against the virus by the end of February.