Starting in Summer 2021, a new type of COVID vaccine could be available. Known as a protein subunit vaccine, this vaccine contains a spike protein that the other three vaccines are missing. The other vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, contain instructions for the spike protein but do not actually include the spike protein in the vaccination. The three vaccines allow our cell bodies to make the protein up for itself.
Vaccines normally work by showing a resemblance of a virus but are not. After the vaccine is administered and the real virus shows up, the immune system is ready to fight and conquer the virus. In a protein subunit vaccine, the resemblance in the vaccine is actually one of the proteins in the virus: the spike protein.
Protein subunit vaccines have been around for a long time. Vaccines for hepatitis B and pertussis, or known as whooping cough, are based on this technology. This technology works a bit differently from other vaccines that are authorized in the United States by containing the spike protein along with an adjuvant that improves the immune responses to make the vaccine more proactive and protective.
This protein subunit vaccine will come from a biotech company called Novavax. Novavax utilizes a giant vat of cells that were artificially grown in the lab. To test the effectiveness of this new vaccine, Doctor Gregory Glenn, the president of research and development at Novavax, conducted a study with over ten thousand volunteers throughout the United States and Mexico. He mentioned that Novavax anticipates filing for FDA authorization in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe before the third quarter.
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1A New Type Of COVID-19 Vaccine Could Debut Soon. (2021, June 6). NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/06/06/1003328413/new-type-of-covid-vaccine-could-debut-soon