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NVX-Co-V2372 COVID19 vaccine effective against B.1.351 variant

Recent reports have shown that there is emergence for B.1.1.7, P1, and B.1.351 variants at the key antigenic sites at Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) and N- terminal domain of spike protein. The B.1.351 variant is reported to have emerged in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa in October 2020 and rapidly spreading to become the dominant circulating strain.

A SARS-Co-V2 nanoparticle vaccine NVX-Co-V2372 consisting of full-length, pre-fusion trimers of spike glycoprotein is co-formulated with adjuvant Matrix-M1. The NVX-Co-V2372 vaccine was administered in two dose regimes, 21 days apart to check the efficacy of the NVX-Co-V2372 COVID19 vaccine against the B.1.351 variant. Participants were healthy adults from 18 to 64 years of age. Key exclusion criteria were chronic administration of immunosuppressive therapy and autoimmune or immune deficiency disease. It was noted that there were a strong antigen-specific polyfunctional CD4+T-cell response and Neutralizing antibody response (NAb) for moderate to severe COVID19 cases.

NVX-Co-V2372 developed by Novavax was administered via intra- muscular injections to the participants 21 days apart. Among 94% of participants, vaccine efficacy was 60.1%. The NVX-Co-V2372 vaccine was efficacious in preventing mild to moderate cases of COVID19.

The vaccine fulfilled the primary efficacy objective of preventing symptomatic COVID19 in the setting of predominant transmission of B.1.351 variant. This was the first report to provide evidence, in the setting of a controlled vaccine trial, that prior infection did not reduce the COVID19 due to reinfection with the B.1.351 variant. This finding is significant for public health implications for vaccine development and control strategies. NVX-Co-V2372 confirmed cross-protection against an immunological escape variant. 

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