A NEW Covid vaccine is more than 89 per cent effective and works on the UK and South African strains of the virus, with Britain ordering 60 million doses.
US firm Novavax tonight unveiled the jab, which is effective in 89.3 per cent of cases, with approval likely to follow next month.
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The UK has secured 60 million doses of the vaccine, which will be manufactured in Stockton-on-Tees for use this summer.
It means there are now 120 million more UK-made doses on the way.
French firm Valneva has started manufacturing 60 million doses of its promising Covid vaccine candidate in Livingston.
The Novavax facility, owned by Fujifilm, has capacity to ramp up production to 180 million doses annually with extra shots sent abroad.
Following tonight’s Novavax announcement, Boris Johnson hailed the “good news” and thanked the volunteers.
The PM said: “Our medicines regulator will now assess the vaccine, which will be made in Teesside. If approved, we have 60m doses on order.”
The results brought joy to Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who was one of 15,000 UK volunteers to take part in the Noravax trials.
He said: “I am particularly thrilled to see such positive results.
“I want to thank the thousands of trial volunteers, without whom these results would not have been possible.”
He added: “It will now be for the regulator to do its crucial work in assessing the efficacy and safety of this vaccine, but if approved it will be a further boost to our vaccination programme.”
The Novavax jab was 89.3 per cent effective in preventing Covid in the UK trial.
More than a quarter of participants were over-65s, and the pharma firm will now apply for approval.
Experts also said the vaccine was 85.6 per cent effective against the new UK variant.
If approved it will be a further boost to our vaccination programme
Nadhim Zahawi, Vaccine Minister
Half of the cases in the trail were the new Kent mutant strain.
Trials in South Africa, where another variant of the virus has emerged, showed efficacy of just under 50 per cent.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is positive news and, if approved by the medicines regulator, the Novavax vaccine will be a significant boost to our vaccination programme and another weapon in our arsenal to beat this awful virus.
“I’m proud the UK is at the forefront of another medical breakthrough and I want to thank the brilliant scientists and researchers, as well as the tens of thousands of selfless volunteers who took park in clinical trials.
“The NHS stands ready to roll this vaccine out as quickly as possible to those most at risk if it is authorised.”
Stanley Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer at Novavax said : “This is the first vaccine to demonstrate not only high clinical efficacy against Covid-19 but also significant clinical efficacy against both the rapidly emerging UK and South Africa variants.
“It has the potential to play an important role in solving this global public health crisis.”
Clive Dix, Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said: “These are spectacular results, and we are very pleased to have helped Novavax with the development of this vaccine.
“The efficacy shown against the emerging variants is also extremely encouraging.
“This is an incredible achievement that will ensure we can protect individuals in the UK and the rest of the world from this virus.”
The Sun can also reveal efficacy results for the much anticipated one-shot Janssen Covid vaccine are expected imminently.
Britain has secured 30 million doses, with supplies expected to arrive as early as July if the trial data is positive.
It comes as a factory in Scotland has already started large-scale production of a third new jab.
Valneva can supply up to 250 million shots of the jab annually, which uses the inactivated virus to kickstart the body’s immune response.
Valneva chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said: “Our team in Scotland have done an amazing job to get manufacturing started so quickly.
“We believe that our vaccine, assuming successful development, can make a major contribution in the UK and beyond.”
The Novavax jab uses proteins extracted from the coronavirus spike alongside a booster to trigger the body’s immune response.
Like the Oxford vaccine, it can be stored in the fridge.
The trial involved more than 15,000 Brits recruited through the National Institute of Health Research vaccine registry, launched last summer.
Nearly 4,000 people in the study were over the age of 65.
Through the Vaccines Taskforce, the UK has secured early access to 367 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccines so far.
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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: “The results from the UK trial of Novavax’s vaccine look promising, and I welcome the news that the company is planning to submit its data to the regulators.
“Once our medicines regulator receives the data, it will begin to carry out its crucial, independent work to assess whether the vaccine meets robust standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.
“The UK moved quickly to procure 60 million doses from Novavax and I’m pleased to confirm the bulk of the vaccine will be manufactured on Teesside and delivered during this year, if approved for use.”