Nuvaxovid: what we know about this anti-Covid vaccine that could arrive in France in February

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The Nuvaxovid vaccine from the American Novavax could be used in France from February, subject to the opinion of the High Health Authority. A new technology that could decide the reluctant. This is what we know about this new vaccine.

A new anti-Covid vaccine could be offered in France in early February, the Health Ministry announced on January 6. Nuvaxovid, as it is called, developed by the American laboratory Novavax, was authorized by the European Medicines Agency on December 20 for people over 18 years of age. It was already in use in Indonesia and the Philippines. In France, the government still awaits the opinion of the Haute Autorité de santé, which should intervene in the coming days.

A “subunit” vaccine

This vaccine, the fifth authorized in the European Union, uses a more “classical” technology than its predecessors, with a viral vector for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and with messenger RNA for Pfizer and Moderna. It is a subunit vaccine, a technology used in particular in vaccines against hepatitis B or whooping cough.

“A subunit vaccine is made up of part of the virus. Here, the Spike protein, explains Jacques Izopet, head of the department of virology at the University Hospital of Toulouse. It is this protein that will be used to trigger an immune response.” The vaccine protein is not extracted from the virus but is synthesized in the laboratory, to which an adjuvant is added that “will intensify the immune response.”

“I preferred something we already know”

A technology that could convince people not yet vaccinated and, at times, cautious, especially against messenger RNA. David, in his thirties, preferred to wait. “As a young man, without health problems, I waited to see, I did not feel worried as a priority. I also preferred something that we already know a little about, a technology that has already been proven, I am also vaccinated against hepatitis B. So why not wait a few months? Affected by the Covid at the beginning of the year, his decision remains the same: in case of vaccination, his choice will be the “most classic” vaccines.

The clinical trials carried out with this new vaccine, in which a total of 45,000 people participated, have shown an efficacy of around 90% against the symptomatic forms.

Regarding its use, the European Medicines Agency specifies, in a press release on its website (in English), that Nuvaxovid is administered in two intramuscular injections, “generally in the upper arm”, 3 weeks apart. .

Side effects “generally mild to moderate” have been seen in studies with Nuvaxovid. Effects that disappeared after a few days. According to the European Medicines Agency, the most common were sensitivity or pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, nausea or vomiting, among others.

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