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How is the Novavax vaccine technology different from that of vaccines previously authorized in the US?

This article was published on
June 15, 2021

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SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

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Expert Comments: 

Lee W. Riley, MD

The Novavax vaccine is a protein subunit-based vaccine. The protein in the vaccine is a modified form of the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein. The spike protein gene is inserted into an insect virus that infects moth cells and causes them to produce COVID-19 spike proteins. The spike protein is then purified from the moth cells and packaged into nanoparticles—composed of ingredients to protect the spike proteins and boost the immune system response—which are then injected into people as a vaccine.

Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD

The Novavax vaccine is based on a COVID-19 virus spike protein produced in insect cells. Once produced, the protein then self-assembles into a particle. The coronavirus spike protein particle is then formulated with an adjuvant to increase the immune system response, combined with cholesterol and fat molecules that form a protective barrier around the COVID-19 protein.

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