Novavax could have vaccine for COVID-19 Omicron variant by January

Other vaccine makers including Moderna and Pfizer have also begun working on Omicron-tailored COVID-19 shots.

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

Novavax Inc said on Thursday it could begin commercial manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine tailored for the Omicron coronavirus variant in January next year, while it tests whether or not its current vaccine works against the variant.

Laboratory data expected in the coming weeks will show whether antibodies from individuals who have previously received Novavax's COVID-19 shot can neutralize the variant, according to the company.

Novavax also said it has started developing an Omicron-specific spike protein antigen and will begin laboratory tests of a new vaccine to target the variant in a few weeks.

The Omicron coronavirus variant has shaken up markets and caused global alarm over concerns about whether it could evade protection provided by widely used vaccines and prolong the public health crisis.

Syringes with needles are seen in front of a displayed stock graph and words ''Omicron SARS-CoV-2'' in this illustration taken, November 27, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)Syringes with needles are seen in front of a displayed stock graph and words ''Omicron SARS-CoV-2'' in this illustration taken, November 27, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)

Other vaccine makers including Moderna and Pfizer have also begun working on Omicron-tailored COVID-19 shots.

Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine received its first emergency use approval in Indonesia in early November followed by the Philippines.