PARIS (Reuters) – French biotech firm Valneva said on Thursday its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was efficient as a booster for people who had received the same shot as an initial vaccination.
“Initial results confirm that VLA2001 significantly boosted immunity in participants who received VLA2001 as a primary vaccination,” it said in a statement.
The news comes almost two weeks after a British study showed VLA2001 was the only shot out of seven that offered no immunity boost when given to people previously immunised with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
That study saw Valneva’s share price tumble 14.5% on Dec. 3. At Wednesday’s closing price of 22.36 euros, the stock is still up 188.5% since the start of the year after soaring 201.5% in 2020.
Valneva had said in reaction to that study that participants had been given booster doses after a shorter interval than usual and that vaccines made from inactivated viruses, such as its candidate, typically require longer to be effective.
“The company is preparing to launch a dedicated heterologous booster trial, which will evaluate a VLA2001 booster shot provided at least six months after primary vaccination with other vaccines or following natural infection. This study is expected to commence in early 2022,” it said Thursday.
“We are extremely pleased to report our first booster data, confirming that VLA2001 significantly boosted immunity in participants who received VLA2001 as a primary vaccination and regardless of the initial neutralizing antibody level at the time of boosting”, Valneva’s chief medical officer Juan Carlos Jaramillo said in the statement.
“Our teams are working diligently on our rolling review regulatory submissions so that we can quickly deploy our vaccine (…),” he added.
The European Union’s drug regulator said in early December it had started a rolling review of Valneva’s vaccine – which could speed up approval – weeks after the EU signed a supply deal with the company.
Unlike shots from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, Valneva’s exposes the immune system to the entire coronavirus, not just its spike protein.
Valneva has said it is hopeful its vaccine candidate would protect people against variants of the virus, adding it would test it specifically against Omicron.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Mark Potter)