Nov 26 (Reuters) - Novavax Inc said on Friday it
had started working on a version of its COVID-19 vaccine to
target the variant detected in South Africa and would have the
shot ready for testing and manufacturing in the next few weeks.
The company's COVID-19 shot contains an actual version of
the virus' spike protein that cannot cause disease but can
trigger the immune system. The vaccine developer said it had
started developing a spike protein specifically based on the
known genetic sequence of the variant, B.1.1.529.
"The initial work will take a few weeks," a company
spokesperson said. Shares of the company closed up nearly 9% on
Novavax's vaccine received its first emergency use approval
earlier this month in Indonesia followed by the Philippines.
The company has said it is on track to file for U.S.
approval by the end of the year. It has also filed for approvals
with the European Medicines Agency as well as in Canada.
Other vaccine developers, including Germany's BioNTech SE
and Johnson & Johnson, have said they are
testing the effectiveness of their shots against the new
variant, which is named Omicron by the World Health
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said it had begun testing
its vaccine candidate, INO-4800, to evaluate its effectiveness
against the new variant. The company expects the testing to take
about two weeks.
Inovio also said it was simultaneously designing a new
vaccine candidate that specifically targeted Omicron.
"Best case scenario, INO-4800 ... will be completely
resilient against omicron, but if that's not the case then we
will have a newly designed vaccine ready to go if need be," said
Kate Broderick, senior vice president of Inovio's R&D division.
Earlier this month, Inovio resumed a late-stage trial of its
vaccine in the United States after 14 months on clinical hold.
(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Mrinalika Roy in
Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)