Novavax creates MERS-CoV vaccine candidate

Novavax, Inc., announced on Thursday that it has created a vaccine candidate to battle the recently emerging Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

The MERS coronavirus is a new type of coronavirus that was discovered in 2012 by an Egyptian virologist. MERS-CoV is a kind of SARS and is closely related to the more famous SARS, which has been labeled Hong Kong SARS to avoid confusion. MERS-CoV is believed to have originated with an unknown animal species.

SARS works by evading the innate immune responses and disrupting interferon production in the cells. The result is a severe acute pneumonia, which can eventually lead to renal failure and death.

Novavax produced a nanoparticle vaccine for MERS-CoV closely related SARS-CoV, which are both based on the major surface S protein. The SARS-CoV candidate was shown to demonstrate immunogenicity and complete protection of animals in a live viral challenge. These results were published in the journal, Vaccine, in July 2011.

Novavax is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that creates vaccines to address a broad range of infectious diseases. Novavax uses innovative recombinant nanoparticle technology, as well as new and efficient manufacturing approaches to create candidate capable of combating numerous diseases.

Novavax believes the current MERS-CoV candidate can provide a path forward for a vaccine against this recent threat.