GAITHERSBURG, Md. —
Gaithersburg-based Novavax is confident it has identified an optimal vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
As planned, the company is moving to the next stage: testing on humans. This comes as the company got a major investment.
According to doctors from Novavax, if the drug is approved, they are confident they could get it to people in mass amounts.
"We're confident we can make a vaccine," said Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development for Novavax, told 11 News on April 24.
Now, almost a month later, Glenn said they've seen promising results in what's called the NVX-COV2373 vaccine. It's engineered from a genetic sequence of the SARS-COV-2 virus.
Using Novavax's patented Matrix-M technology, the vaccine is able to enhance immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.
Glenn said on a conference call Wednesday that single and double doses of the vaccine are currently showing great promise in mice and baboons, and he expects the same for humans.
"Maybe you also want them to be protected against transmission so they don't become transmitters, so that might be those types of folks might really go for a two-dose regimen, whereas in a setting where you have mass deployment and you're trying to prevent hospitalization, you just give them a single dose," Glenn said.
With the positive animal results, Novavax is now moving to stage one by testing 130 humans from Australia. The results of that test are expected in late June or early July.
If they are successful, they will implement stage two and several thousand people would be tested in Australia and the United States.
The positive news also comes on the heels of a $384 million cash infusion from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The money will be used not only for the testing, but to process mass development of the vaccine.
"We're confident that we can make 100 million doses this year to be deployed and go to 1 billion doses, that is not discounting the need for a lot of work a lot of collaboration with regulators guidance from them," Glenn said.
If the phase two testing proves positive, stage three would require input from the federal government with a final vaccine coming by December or January.