A new Covid vaccine has shown to be up to 95.6 per cent effective in large UK trials.
The study of the Novavax coronavirus vaccination involved more than 15,000 participants between the ages of 18 to 84, with 27 per cent aged over 65.
Analysis showed that the new UK variant was detected in more than half of the Covid-19 cases recorded in the trials, and the vaccine was found to be 85.6 per cent effective against the variant.
This vaccine - which is given in two doses - is the first to show in trials that it is effective against the new UK Covid variant.
The vaccine was also found to be 95.6 per cent effective against the original coronavirus strain.
In the South African part of the trial, where most of the cases were the South African variant of the virus, the vaccine was found to be 60 per cent effective among those without HIV.
Addressing the results of the study, Clive Dix, chairman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said: “These are spectacular results, and we are very pleased to have helped Novavax with the development of this vaccine. The efficacy shown against the emerging variants is also extremely encouraging.
“This is an incredible achievement that will ensure we can protect individuals in the UK and the rest of the world from this virus.”
In regards to the lower results in the South African variant, Professor Paul Heath, the Novavax Phase 3 trial chief investigator, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We’ve seen for the UK that the UK variant can be successfully prevented with this vaccine, which is great.
“Yes, the South African variant is more difficult and hopefully there will not be more variants but we may expect to see some as time goes on.”
The UK currently has three Covid-19 vaccines approved for use. These are the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and the Moderna vaccination.
When could the Novavax vaccine be approved for use?
The UK has ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine - which will be made in Teesside - but it is yet to require approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS is ready to roll out the Novavax vaccine if it is approved by MHRA.
Mr Hancock said: “This is positive news and, if approved by the medicines regulator, the Novavax vaccine will be a significant boost to our vaccination programme and another weapon in our arsenal to beat this awful virus.
“I’m proud the UK is at the forefront of another medical breakthrough and I want to thank the brilliant scientists and researchers, as well as the tens of thousands of selfless volunteers who took part in clinical trials.
“The NHS stands ready to roll this vaccine out as quickly as possible to those most at risk if it is authorised.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also addressed the positive results of the new jab, thanking those involved with the vaccine.
He tweeted: “Good news that the @Novavax vaccine has proved effective in UK trials. Thank you to all the volunteers who made these results possible.
“Our medicines regulator will now assess the vaccine, which will be made in Teesside. If approved, we have 60m doses on order.”