Preventing severe cases of coronavirus has been a major goal of vaccination campaigns. That's because these cases put individuals at a higher risk for hospitalization or even death. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on June 22, healthcare and cannabis bureau editor and analyst Olivia Zitkus and contributor Adria Cimino discuss the performance of Novavax's (NASDAQ:NVAX) vaccine candidate and how it compares to today's leaders Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).

Olivia Zitkus: Adria, how about we start off talking a little bit about Novavax. That's probably the biggest news to come out of the past couple of weeks. Between now and the last time you were on, I think Novavax reported really good phase 3 safety and efficacy data from its coronavirus vaccine trial. What's your take on Novavax's data compared to already approved vaccines?

Adria Cimino: Right. Well, let's do a little comparison. First of all, the Novavax said the vaccine was 90.4% effective overall -- that's mild, moderate, and severe COVID cases. Moderna is 90% effective or greater than 90% effective, and Pfizer is 91.3% effective. They're all pretty close. Now in severe disease only, Novavax is 100% effective, Moderna is greater than 95% effective and Pfizer's 95.3% effective. Of course, this is great data from Novavax. But we have to put it into perspective -- also the data we're looking at is from a trial that started in December. This is data that was taken from end of January through the end of April. Now, all of Moderna and Pfizer data is six-month data. There's been a chance for more cases to accrue, also for the effectiveness to go down. It's kind of normal when we see the numbers that we're seeing -- like Moderna started out with a 100% effectiveness against severe COVID in the early days, and that has gone down a bit. I would say that right now, it's great to say that Novavax has really good results, but let's wait and see after six months before saying. We can't really compare it apples-to-apples right just yet.

Zitkus: Sure thing. The EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) application for that vaccine -- that's not expected now until Q3, right? The company's released that announcement. Are they feeling a crunch from investors at all? It feels like they have the ball rolling, it's just a matter of if it goes over the crunch.

Cimino: Right. Exactly. I think no one likes delays. We've seen the stock has declined a bit. It's down about 25% since May 1. I think this is something that they want to keep investors happy at this point and say, hey look, this is coming along, so they are feeling the crunch a bit. But at the moment there really isn't anything to truly worry about, but it is something that investors, as each day goes by, they could worry a bit. Of course, Novavax wants to get this done as soon as possible, so we'll see what happens if they meet the next timeline and everything.

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