A VACCINE from Novavax, which will be manufactured in the North-East, has been shown to be 89 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 - but what else do we know about it? 

The Novavax coronavirus vaccine has passed its third and final stage of clinical trials, offering an additional glimmer of hope as the UK continues to vaccinate vulnerable groups. 

The manufacturing of this Covid-19 vaccine, of which the UK has secured 60 million doses, is set to take place at Fujifilm Diosynth in Billingham, on Teesside.

Teessiders have been quick to welcome the news, which has been supported by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

This vaccine is unique because it can be stored at fridge temperature, unlike the other two currently in use. 

Here's everything we know about the vaccine so far: 

How does the vaccine work?

The Novavax vaccine works like other vaccines by teaching the immune system to make antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein.

Researchers inserted a modified gene into a virus, called a baculovirus, and allowed it to infect insect cells.

Spike proteins from these cells were then assembled into nanoparticles which, while they look like coronavirus, cannot replicate or cause Covid-19.

These nanoparticles are then injected into the body via the vaccine where the immune system mounts an antibody response.

If the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the body is primed to fend it off.

Are there advantages of the Novavax vaccine?

Yes. While the jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna need to be kept at ultra-low temperatures, the Novavax jab is stable for up to three months in a normal fridge.

It also differs from those currently being used in the UK as it combines an engineered protein from the virus that causes Covid-19 with a plant-based ingredient to help generate a stronger immune response. 

Was the jab tested in the UK?

Yes. More than 15,000 people in the UK took part in the clinical trial, which was supported by the UK National Institute for Health Research.

Some 27 per cent of those in the UK were over the age of 65.

The study assessed how effective the vaccine was when transmission of Covid-19 was high in the UK, and with the variant strain identified in the UK circulating widely.

The analysis, based on the first 62 cases of Covid-19 identified in the trial, reported 56 cases in people given a placebo (dummy) vaccine while six cases were in those given the vaccine.

More than 50 per cent of cases related to the UK strain of the virus, with the vaccine offering 86 per cent protection against this strain.

Against the original strain that has circulated since the start of the pandemic, the vaccine was 96 per cent effective.

When will it be rolled out? 

The vaccine will be delivered in the second half of this year, if approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The agency will assess whether the vaccine meets robust standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.

What about the South Africa strain?

Data from more than 20,000 people, including a trial in South Africa, has now been reported.

In the South African arm of the trial, where most cases of Covid-19 were the South African strain, the jab was 60% effective in preventing mild, moderate and severe coronavirus among those without HIV.

Including the HIV positive participants, whose immune systems are compromised, overall the protection was just over 49 per cent.

Scientists continue to be concerned about the South African strain of the virus and one that emerged in Brazil, with the expectation that these strains will not work as well with current vaccines.

Novavax plans to immediately begin development on a vaccine specifically targeted to the South African variant.