The new vaccine, Novavac, is the only Covid-19 vaccine for which we have evidence that it protects against the variant dominating in SA, says prof Shabir Madhi, executive director of the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit at Wits and principal investigator in the Novavax Covid-19 trial.

A SA phase 2b trial of the vaccine, which 60% efficacy against mild and severe Covid-19 among the 94% of trial participants who were HIV-negative, and 49% efficacy overall. Approximately 90% of the infections that occurred among trial participants were caused by the new variant.

 The researchers said the higher efficacy of the vaccine in the UK than in SA is because the variants circulating in SA are less sensitive to vaccine-induced immune responses.

*Meanwhile the Covid-19 variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom (UK) in December 2020 has been found in South Africa.

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