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Maryland Biotech Company Novavax Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Are Showing Promise

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Maryland-based biotech company Novavax briefed the public on the progress of its vaccine candidate Tuesday.

Novavax President of Research & Development Dr. Gregory Glenn told the International Society for Vaccines Virtual Congress the Gaithersburg company is being "very aggressive with its timeline" to try to get its vaccine to the public by the end of the year.

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"The Operation Warp Speed contract calls for us to deliver 100 million doses to the U.S. I think we see ourselves to be on track for that. Obviously, that's a very challenging task," Dr. Glenn said. "We have completed a Phase 1 trial. We're about to 'unblind' data at the end of July, so that's shortly."


Novavax recently received $1.6 billion in federal funding to develop and manufacture the potential vaccine.

Dr. Glenn said the published results so far are promising and, if proved safe and effective, the company can scale up and manufacture the vaccine quickly.

"You can see we tried different conditions—freeze/thaw, high pH/low pH, high temperature/low temperature. This is a very stable molecule," Dr. Glenn said. "When the virus was first identified, we made about 30 constructs. We evaluated for their stability, for their immunogenicity."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says there is no guarantee Novavax's vaccine in trial will work, but it is worth the investment.

"The risk we are taking is to gain months so that we will be able to have it ready and if we lose that we are only losing money," Fauci said.

In Phase Two, the Novavax candidate, NVX-CoV2373, will study for dose confirmation, according to Dr. Glenn, who says he thinks five micrograms will be the dose moving forward.

Novavax is hopeful to have a vaccine available by the end of the year.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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