Say what you see: Novavax taps its own branding for latest COVID vaccine

COVID vaccines are like buses. You wait hours for one and then suddenly four come along. We’ve had Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty, Moderna’s Spikevax and AstraZeneca’s Covishield. Now, with a green light in Europe, there's Novavax—and it’s gone with a say-what-you-see approach to naming.

Unlike the other COVID vaccine makers, Novavax has decided—perhaps prudently, given how vaccine makers have become better known than their vaccine brand names—to prefix its brand with part of its own name.

Take that idea, add in vaccine and COVID, and you've got Nuvaxovid.

The vaccine, which works by using a version of a protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, was authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week but still awaits a decision in the U.S.

Like other COVID vaccine makers before it, Novavax turned to the Brand Institute for its first marketed vaccine after its more than three-decade history.

RELATED: Moderna locks up Spikevax name in Europe, joins Pfizer's Comirnaty in wait for official brand approval in U.S.

“Nuvaxovid is the first approved COVID vaccine brand name that is associated with its manufacturer, in this case Novavax,” explained Scott Piergrossi​, president of creative at the institute.

“It’s a relatively subtle connection: the Nuva/Nova prefix, and of course the inclusion of -vax-. It’s a semi-descriptive name that, if one were to take the time to deconstruct, might suggest a 'new vaccine for COVID,'" Piergrossi said.

Novavax execs had a "very positive" reaction to the name immediately because of its link to the company's own name, what the name suggested and its "rhythmic cadence and ease of pronunciation."

The company is hoping for an emergency use authorization in the U.S., though its bid to get one has hit several setbacks. Novavax said last week that it plans to complete the process of filing for an EUA by the end of this month.

Novavax's latest FDA move comes after some notable wins for the program. There's its EMA approval, of course, and last month the vaccine, formerly NVX-CoV2373, nabbed a World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listing.

With that WHO blessing in hand, Novavax and partner Serum Institute of India can now ship doses to the so-called COVAX program, which helps supply vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.