THE Covid vaccine which is being produced in the North-East has shown "high levels of efficacy against original and variant Covid strains", latest research has revealed.

In January, it was confirmed that 60 million doses of the Novavax Covid vaccine would be made at Fujifilm Diosynth in Billingham, near Stockton, after the vaccine passed its UK clinical trial.

But promising new data released on Thursday confirmed the Novavax vaccine is safe and 96 per cent effective at preventing infection against the original strain of Covid.

Novavax released results from two clinical trials yesterday, one held in the UK and another in South Africa.

The Northern Echo:

Across both trials, the vaccine candidate, called NVX-CoV2373, demonstrated 100 per cent protection against severe disease, including all hospitalisation and death.

In the Phase three UK trial, the vaccine was found to be 96.4 per cent effective against mild, moderate and severe disease caused by the original coronavirus strain.

It was also 86.3 per cent effective against the Kent strain, known as B.1.1.7.

The UK study enrolled more than 15,000 participants between 18-84 years of age, including 27 per cent over the age of 65.

The Northern Echo:

In South Africa, the Novavax jab was found to only be 55.3 per cent effective against the native variant.    

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Really encouraging results from Novavax on its efficacy against variants.

"We've ordered 60 million doses & if approved by the medicines regulator it will be another boost to the UK’s vaccination rollout as we work to overcome this virus.

"Those 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will be made in Teesside. Thank you to all involved in the vaccine roll-out - the NHS, armed forces, the MHRA, councils & the British public."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The news this morning that Novavax is effective not only against the original Covid strain but other variants as well is fantastic news.

“But the news we are all waiting for is for the regulator to sign the vaccine off and then we can really ramp up production at the Billingham site and we can create those 60 million vaccines, which are being made by local people, and they can then be rolled out across the UK.

“I’m hope the sign off that shows this is a safe and effective vaccine will come in the very near future.”

Alex Cunningham, Stockton North MP, said: “Like all Teessiders I was incredibly proud that the Novavax vaccine was being manufactured by Fujifilm at Billingham. It’s great to see our local experts playing a leading role in the battle against Coronavirus.

“The results of Novavax tests are really encouraging, and I’d like to thank everyone who has played a role in developing and testing the vaccine. This is rigorous process and one that shows that Covid vaccines are being tested to extremely high standards.

“Vaccination is the route out of this pandemic and back to a more normal way of life. The vaccine will save lives and I’d urge everyone to get vaccinated when they are invited to do so.”

Stanley Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, said: "Importantly, both studies confirmed efficacy against the variant strains. 

"Today marks one year since the WHO officially declared the Covid-19 pandemic, and with this data in hand, we are even more motivated to advance our vaccine as a potential weapon in the fight to end the suffering caused by Covid-19."