Covid-19 Conversations: Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Trial


As the race for a safe and effective vaccine continues, it’s important that people are kept informed about the progress in scientific developments.

Mzansi is currently home to three of the world’s clinical trials. In the last edition, we looked at the first one – the Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine Vida trial.

The Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Trial is the second Covid-19 to start in South Africa and will be tested at 10 different sites in sites in Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

The Novavax vaccine candidate, called NVX-CoV2373, is being tested in South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. About to 4 400 people between 18 and 75 years will be enrolled in Mzansi as scientists test whether or not the vaccine is safe to use and protects against Covid-19.

Participants will be given treatment in a randomised way and scientists will not know whether each participant is receiving the vaccine or a placebo. Additionally, they will be divided into two groups – one that tests the safety and efficacy of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine in about 4 160 HIV-negative people while the other group will test the vaccine in 240 “medically stable” HIV-positive adults.

Volunteers will be injected with the vaccine or placebo when they enrol into the clinical trial, they will also receive another jab three weeks later. They will also be required to come in for evaluations to see how their bodies are responding.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September, the results of the phase one trial showed there were no serious safety concerns that were reported and the vaccine resulted in recipients developing high levels of antibodies.

Professor Shabir Madhi is the lead investigator for this clinical trial and Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine Vida trial.

The South African study is one of the larger clinical trials across the world that are testing the NVX-CoV2373 vaccine, including larger phase 3 studies with about 30 000 participants.

  • Covid-19 Conversations is brought to you by the African Alliance in partnership with the South African Medical Research Council and the Department of Science and Innovation. Send questions to
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