Published: Sat, January 30, 2021
Medical | By

One shot J&J vaccine moderately effective, less against South Africa variant

One shot J&J vaccine moderately effective, less against South Africa variant

"These topline results with a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate represent a promising moment", said Dr. Paul Stoffels, the company's chief scientific officer.

Public health officials have been counting on the J&J vaccine to increase much-needed supply and simplify the USA immunization campaign.

Their efficacy rates, which exceeded 90 percent in clinical trials, were reported prior to growing concerns over what appears to be more contagious variants initially detected in Britain and South Africa.

In the United States, two types of two-dose vaccines were granted emergency use authorization in December - one developed by USA pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, and another from Moderna Inc.

"This vaccine is for everyone", said Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development for Janssen Inc., the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson.

As countries around the world are scrambling to roll out vaccinations for controlling the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic, data on vaccines' efficacy varies by coronavirus strains and by populations. Researchers tracked illnesses starting 28 days after vaccination - about the time when, if participants were getting a two-dose variety instead, they would have needed another shot.

The U.S. government has preordered about 100 million doses, but Johnson & Johnson only expects to have fewer than 10 million doses available for February.

AstraZeneca's announcement angered the EU, who argue the drugmaker has breached their contract, prompting the EU to act against vaccines being produced in EU countries being exported from the bloc.


The UK has chose to delay administering second doses by up to 12 weeks in order to vaccinate as many people as possible.

All COVID-19 vaccines train the body to recognize the new coronavirus, usually by spotting the spikey protein that coats it. Both the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines can be stored in a refrigerator, making them easier to ship and to use in developing countries than the frozen kind made by Pfizer and Moderna.

USA trial results for the vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University are expected in early February, opening up the possibility of a fourth vaccine option.

J&J said the vaccine is safe, with reactions similar to other COVID-19 shots such as fever that occur when the immune system is revved up.

J&J had hedged its bets with a study of a two-dose version of its vaccine, which is still underway.

Johnson & Johnson has released the results of its phase three COVID-19 vaccine trial and plans to seek emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pfizer and BioNTech also said earlier this month that early findings showed that their vaccine will likely be effective against the new variants of the coronavirus. A larger study in the United States and Mexico is still enrolling volunteers.

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