Covid-19 Vaccines

Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus vector based vaccine – a game changer?

Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus vector-based vaccine, developed by its subsidiary Janssen Biotech Inc. reported 66% overall vaccine efficacy with a single dose after 28 days in a global Phase III trial with 43,783 participants. However, efficacies were different at different trial locations: 72% efficacy in the US, 66% in Latin America, and 57% in South Africa, the latter in which many cases were caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was 85% overall effective in preventing severe disease and demonstrated complete protection against Covid-19-related hospitalisation and death 28 days after vaccination. The company has supply agreements for 200 million doses with the EU and for 100 million doses with the US government. (link).

Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Janssen-Cilag International is awaiting approval from the European Medicines Agency. This approval is expected in March 2021. The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Feb. 26, 2021, to discuss the request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine from Janssen Biotech Inc. (link). The company expects expects that vaccine distribution can start directly after regulatory authorisation. The investigational, single-dose vaccine leverages Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine platform for developing Ebola, Zika, RSV and HIV vaccines. link

Johnson & Johnson’s is compatible with standard vaccine distribution channels. If authorized, this single-dose vaccine candidate is estimated to remain stable for two years at -20°C (-4°F), at least three months of which can be at temperatures of 2-8°C (36°F–46°F). The Company will ship the vaccine using the same cold chain technologies it uses today to transport other innovative medicines. link

South Africa is poised to achieve a milestone in the worldwide response to the pandemic when it becomes the first country to administer the Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine later this week.

The vaccine requires just a single dose and can be stored in normal refrigerators. This will help offer a return to normality for many.

What does Professor Luke O’Neill (Chair of Biochemistry) Affiliations: School of Biochemistry and Immunology. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland have to say about COVID-19 and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

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Professor Luke O’Neill

These are the first tentative steps now towards the end game, let’s put it that way. Some will say it is too early and let’s keep going for a while but scientists are now looking at the numbers and trying to project it out a bit. As I say, we are a year into it so we should be able to begin to see what the future might look like. We have now got seven vaccines which is still remarkable. Seven very efficacious vaccines being widely used around the world and the numbers are turning, no question. It is a six to nine-month window is what they are now analysing closely – and of course, we know it is possible

Could the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be a game-changer for COVID-19 and beyond? Luke O’Neill’s COVID-19 update. Watch Professor Luke O’Neill on an interview given to Newstalk (Newstalk is an independent radio station in the Republic of Ireland)

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