Covid-19 Vaccine: Wits trial results published in New England Journal

The complete analysis of the trial indicates that there may be a "modest protective effect of prior exposure" to the original Covid-19 strain.

Covid-19 Vaccine: Wits trial results published in New England Journal

Results from the initial primary analysis of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine trial conducted by Wits VIDA in South Africa have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Wits University announced in a statement on Thursday that the NEJM, recognised as the world’s leading medical journal, had published the findings of the Phase 2b clinical trial conducted at Wits University in South Africa. The article was published on 5 May.

Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology, co-author of the study, and the Director of the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (Wits VIDA), led the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine trial in SA.

The published data provided additional detail of an initial analysis conducted in January, while more robust data from a complete analysis of the study was shared in March 2021.

Publication of initial primary analysis highlights cross-protection by the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine against the B.1.351 variant prevalent in South Africa during the study.

This is the first published study to show protection against mild Covid-19 caused by the B.1.351 variant circulating in South Africa.

An updated analysis of the study indicated 100% protection against severe Covid-19 due to the B.1.351 variant.

“An efficacy of 50% is sufficient to meet the World Health Organization criteria for regulatory approval of the vaccine,” Madhi said.

The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine, known as NVX-CoV2373, is made by Novavax, Inc, a US-based biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases.

Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research and Development at Novavax, said: “This data publication reinforces the encouraging safety profile and cross-protective effect across variants seen in studies of our vaccine to-date.”

About the study

The Phase 2b randomised, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled trial conducted in South Africa evaluated the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity in healthy adults, and in a small cohort of medically stable adults living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The study met its primary endpoint – i.e., the Novavax vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 49% in the initial analysis (published in NEJM), and 49% in the subsequent complete analysis (unpublished).

Among healthy adults without HIV, the Novavax vaccine demonstrated efficacy of 60% in the initial analysis, and 55% in the subsequent complete analysis.

In the initial analysis, cases were predominantly mild-to-moderate and due to the B.1.351 variant that dominates in South Africa, and increasingly in southern Africa.

In the subsequent complete analysis, circulation of the B.1.351 variant continued to dominate, and all five cases of severe disease observed in the trial occurred in the placebo group.

The initial analysis, now published in NEJM, suggested that prior infection with the original Covid-19 strain did not protect against subsequent infection by the variant predominantly circulating in South Africa through 60 days of follow-up. However, with additional follow-up, the complete analysis of the South Africa trial indicates that there may be a modest protective effect of prior exposure with the original Covid-19 strain.

Among placebo recipients, at 90 days of follow-up, the illness rate was 8.0% in baseline seronegative participants and 5.9% in baseline seropositive participants.

“The data make a compelling case for use of the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine in settings where the B.1.351 variant dominates – which is most of southern Africa – to reduce the risk of mild disease and also to maximise the opportunity for protection against severe Covid. Further work is required for Novavax and all other Covid-19 vaccines, particularly in people living with HIV,” Madhi said.

The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine trial is one of two Covid-19 vaccine trials in South Africa led by Madhi and Wits VIDA, with the other being the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine trial.  

In addition to directing Wits VIDA, Madhi is Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits), and co-Director of African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE).

Source : The South African More   

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What’s Gone Viral: See the ‘monster moth’ so heavy that it can’t fly

What's Gone Viral: A 'monster moth' as big as an 'eggplant' was recently found at a school in Australia.

What’s Gone Viral:  See the ‘monster moth’ so heavy that it can’t fly

A giant moth – so heavy that it cannot fly – was found at an Australian school on Monday, 3 May 2021.

A monster moth found in Australia

According to the Mount Cotton State School, builders found the giant wood moth while constructing new classrooms at the school in Queensland.

The school’s principal, Meagan Steward, called it an “amazing find”.

An Amazing find

“Our new building is situated on the edge of a rainforest and during the build, the moth was found,” Steward told .

She also said that while staff and students were used to seeing a range of animals at the school, the moth was unlike anything they had seen before. 

The school shared photos of the giant wood moth on Facebook, where they generated a huge interest and registered hundreds of likes, comments and shares.

A giant wood moth found during the build!

Posted by Mount Cotton State School on Sunday, May 2, 2021

About the giant wood moth

According to NDTV, the giant wood moth, also known as the Endoxyla cinereus, is found along the Queensland and New South Wales coast. According to Dr Christine Lambkin, Queensland Museum’s head of entomology, giant wood moths are the heaviest in the world. 

“They fly very, very poorly. In most cases when they emerge, the females, they just crawl up a local tree or stump of a fence post and sit there and wait for males to find them,” Lambkin said.

“They’re very common on Queensland coast, [but that] is the biggest I’ve seen,” one social media user commented on Facebook. “How cool. Gotta say if it flew near me while I was gardening I would probably do a karate freakout!” said another.

The females, about twice the size of the males, can weigh up to 30 grams and boasts a wingspan of up to 25 centimeters.

Another social media user means that it is as big as an ‘eggplant’.

“Sweet mercy. It’s the size of an eggplant.”

Source : The South African More   

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