Illustration of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Given Ruvic | Reuters
Johnson & Johnson said Friday that its one-off coronavirus vaccine was 66% overall effective against Covid-19. However, the vaccine appeared to be less effective against other variants.
The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will approve a vaccine that is safe and at least 50% effective. In comparison, the flu vaccine generally reduces the risk of developing influenza by 40% to 60% compared to people who were not vaccinated, according to the CDC.
The level of protection varies from region to region, J&J said, with the vaccine showing a total of 66% effectiveness after four weeks, 72% in the US, 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.
J&J said the vaccine was 85% effective in preventing serious illness in all adults four weeks after vaccination. The vaccine provided full protection against hospitalizations related to Covid four weeks after vaccination.
“We are proud to have reached this critical milestone and our commitment to addressing this global health crisis is urgent for everyone, everywhere,” said Alex Gorsky, CEO of J&J, in a statement.
J & J’s shares fell more than 3% in premarket trading after the announcement.
The highly anticipated results were based on 468 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the more than 43,000 volunteers in the phase 3 study, according to J&J. The company said the study includes those infected with B.1.351, the new, highly contagious strain found in South Africa.
Efficacy against serious illnesses increased over time, with no cases reported in vaccinated participants after day 49, the company said. The protection was uniform across race and age, even over 60 years.
The vaccine was well tolerated and no significant safety concerns were reported with the vaccine, said J&J. There were also no reports of anaphylaxis.
US officials and Wall Street analysts are eagerly anticipating J & J’s vaccine approval, which could come as early as next month. Public health officials and infectious disease experts say world leaders will need a range of drugs and vaccines to fight the virus that has killed more than 400,000 Americans in about a year.
If J & J’s vaccine is FDA approved, it will be the third emergency approved in the US after Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna’s. Pfizer’s vaccine was approved by the FDA on December 11th, and Moderna’s vaccine was approved a week later on December 18th.
Unlike the vaccines approved by Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses three to four weeks apart, J&J only requires one dose. This means that patients do not have to return for another dose, which simplifies logistics for healthcare providers. In addition, J&J has announced that it will ship the vaccine at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, which is roughly 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored in ultra-cold freezers between negative 80 and negative 60 degrees Celsius or between negative 112 and negative 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderna vaccines must be delivered between 25 and 15 degrees Celsius or between 13 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced in August that it had signed a contract with Janssen, J & J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary, worth approximately $ 1 billion for 100 million doses of its vaccine. The deal gives the federal government the opportunity to order another 200 million cans, according to the announcement.
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