Dr. Gregory Glenn, Novavax's (NASDAQ: NVAX) VP of R&D, told Benzinga in an email Saturday, that the production of a MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) vaccine was an analogous situation to that mentioned in the paper on H7n9, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The paper, published on December 12, 2013, describes a trial of 284 adults in a "randomized, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial" of a H7n9 vaccine. The paper states that the vaccines studied in the trial were released for human use within 3 months after the availability of HA (hemagglutinins) and NA (neuraminidase) sequences.
On Friday, the CDC held a news conference to discuss the first known U.S. case of MERS. The patient, a health case worker, fell ill following a trip to Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, the Indiana Department of Health reported the patient was still at the Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana and his condition was improving.
The MERS virus was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Most people with MERS develop severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The mortality rate is about 30%, according to the CDC.
Novavax shares closed unchanged Friday at $4.33.
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