Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine – It is very good news that the US company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has now also applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval of its vaccine against COVID-19. An application for emergency approval will also be submitted in the coming weeks to the European Union drug authority, the EMA.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires only one dose
Data evaluated from the phase III trial suggest that J & J’s vaccine reduces the risk of moderate or severe COVID-19 disease by 66 percent four weeks after vaccination.
The fact that this number is lower than that of previously approved vaccines probably has to do with the new mutations that had not yet appeared during their trials late last summer.
But the J&J vaccine also has some clear advantages: It only needs to be injected once, which means that more people could be protected by the vaccine much more quickly. However, subsequent tests should clarify whether efficacy could be further increased with two doses of vaccination, as is the case with competitors.
Furthermore, the J&J vaccine can be transported and stored at refrigerator temperature because, unlike the BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it is a vector vaccine based on a normal cold virus. In terms of design, the J&J vaccine is similar to AstraZeneca’s. Both target the spike protein on the surface of the virus that triggers the protective immune response.
Fortunately, the phase III trial, involving 44,000 people in the US, Brazil and South Africa, showed that the vaccine works as well in older people as in young people, something that had been questioned with the AstraZeneca vaccine . One-third of the participants in the J&J vaccine trial were older than 60 years. Most importantly, none of those vaccinated by J&J died or were hospitalized, which is an encouraging sign.
Up to 400 million doses of vaccines for the EU
As soon as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives the go-ahead, deliveries can begin, Johnson & Johnson announced. The company plans to supply a total of 1 billion doses this year. Production will take place in the United States, Europe, South Africa and India.
The United States has obtained 100 million doses for 1 billion dollars, which J&J plans to ship in the first half of the year. In addition, the United States has an option for another 200 million doses. The European Union has secured up to 400 million doses of the vaccine.