FDA approves Covavax vaccine for emergency use in Philippines

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
FDA approves Covavax vaccine for emergency use in Philippines
In this file photo Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, lifts a vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19.
AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine drug regulators have cleared the Covavax vaccine against COVID-19 for emergency use for adults.

Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo said Wednesday they issued the EUA to Covavax under its manufacturer Serum Institute of India. 

Over a government briefing, he explained the Covavax is a protein subunit type of vaccine, where "part of the antigenic part of the virus is replicated and is injected to elicit immune response."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says protein subunit jabs help build T-lymphocytes — part of the immune system — and antibodies "that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future."

Covavax, branded as Novovax in the US, has a reported efficacy rate of 89.7%.  It is taken in two 0.5ml doses administered within 21 days of each other.

"We have seen in its clinical trials that adverse effects have been very mild," the FDA chief added in Filipino, "and its safety profile is good."

The Duterte administration in March announced it would sign a supply deal with Novavax for 30 million doses of the vaccine for use by late 2021 or early 2022

The FDA has so far granted EUAs to eight vaccine brands: Covavax, Sinovac, Sputnik V, Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Bharat Biotech. 

The Philippines began its inoculation drive in March. Eight months later, there are now 32.21 million Filipinos fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

That figure is out of the 77.13 million that the government is targeting to inoculate this year in a bid to achieve "population protection."

Some 39.46 million, meanwhile, have received a first dose of a COVID-19 jab.

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