The Czech branch of the American company Novavax is only a step away from the launch of the coronavirus vaccine.
In late May, Novavax acquired a plant by the small town of Kostelec nad Černými lesy, around 40 kilometres east of Prague. The deal saw Novavax take ownership of a biologics manufacturing facility and ‘associated assets’.
“They have started the production of the vaccine, and I know that at the moment it is a question of certificates and approvals,” the Minister of Industry and Trade Havlíček told CNN Prima NEWS.
Marketwatch.com portal stated that Novavax is to produce up to one billion batches later this year, and a significant part of it is to fall to the Czech branch Novavax CZ.
The Novavax vaccine uses a distinct technology from other already-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. It harnesses insect cells to churn out full-length copies of the spike protein that studs the surface of SARS-COV-2 and enables it to invade host cells.
It is the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine to report out results from a pivotal clinical trial. Like the COVID-19 vaccines authorized so far, it requires two doses. Another company, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is expected to announce results for a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow.
“I visited the Novavax plant in Bohumil and they should be able to produce a billion vaccines a year. They are testing the vaccine in the UK and the studies have turned out very well. Deliveries could start as early as April. That’s the latest information I have,” the prime minister told CNN Prima NEWS.
Havlíček emphasized that “this would be a great success for the Czech Republic, especially for our developers, and scientists”.
Novavax vaccine, named NVX-CoV2373 met the primary endpoint, with a vaccine efficacy of 89.3%, in its Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom.
The study assessed efficacy during a period with high transmission and with a new UK variant strain of the virus emerging and circulating widely. It was conducted in partnership with the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce.
The Czech Republic has so far received 372,765 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, primarily sent by Pfizer / BioNTech. About 200,000 people over 80 have already registered for the vaccine, 77,214 of whom have already received the first dose.
The most recent figures for vaccination across Europe show the United Kingdom as the leading country, having already vaccinated 13.5% of its population.
The leading European Union countries are Germany, Italy, and France, with the Czech Republic currently the 8th most vaccinated state in the EU.