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The two new vaccines give cause for hope—but not carelessness

The Novavax and Johnson & Johnson jabs will help combat Covid 19—but vaccines alone won’t eradicate the virus

By Philip Ball  

Photo: Vladimir Zuev / Alamy Stock Photo

Last week’s addition of two more effective vaccines against Covid-19 was very good news. With fast-spreading and potentially more virulent variants of the virus now on the rampage in many parts of the world, and grim predictions that some developing countries might not get adequate supplies of vaccines before 2023, we need all the prophylactic agents we can get against this pandemic.

But the positive news came with caveats. In particular, the effectiveness of both new vaccines is significantly lower against the fast-spreading South African virus variant denoted B.1.351. A trial of the US biotech company Novavax’s vaccine…

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