Novovax, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based biotech company, says the coronavirus vaccine it is developing has shown signs of effectiveness against new, more contagious variants of the virus.

The company said in a statement Tuesday that its vaccine candidate demonstrated an 89.3% efficacy rate in its U.K. clinical trial, WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported.

In addition, Novovax said its vaccine had a 95.6% efficacy rate against the original coronavirus strain and an efficacy rate of 85.6% against a new variant first found in the U.K.

But the company said its vaccine’s potency against another variant first found in South Africa is less than against the U.K. strain. In its South Africa Phase 2B trial, the efficacy rate was about 60%.

The company said its data suggests that those who’ve had coronavirus in the past may not be completely immune to the variant first found in South Africa, but that its vaccine provided “significant protection,” WUSA reported.

Three historically Black institutions — Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee — are participating in Novovax’s clinical trials, aiming to encourage communities of color to get vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, roughly 56 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been distributed nationwide, though only about 33.9 million have been administered, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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