Covid-19 and vaccine: Johnson & Johnson launches the last stage of its clinical trial
If the results of this vaccine are conclusive, the first doses could be commercialized in early 2021.
In the United States, Johnson & Johnson is about to take another crucial step forward in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, September 23, the candidate for this single-dose vaccine began phase 3 trials. For these new trials, 60,000 adult participants were mobilized at nearly 215 sites in the United States and around the world. In fact, the trials will take place in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and the United States. The candidate vaccine was developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Now, Johnson & Johnson has become the fourth company to begin large-scale clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States, behind Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, and AstraZeneca. While the other vaccine candidates require two doses, the Johnson & Johnson candidate will be studied as a single dose vaccine: "We are convinced that a single dose could be very effective," said Johnson & Johnson Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels.
A vaccine in a few months?
Early results from phase 1/2 vaccine trials in the United States and Belgium suggested that a single dose of the vaccine elicits an immune response safe enough to move into large-scale trials. Dr. Stoffels clarified that the company plans to publish information on the diversity of participants.
He also promised to test the vaccine in children when it has been declared safe in the adult population. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson also intends to conduct a separate phase 3 trial, in collaboration with the British government, to examine the efficacy of two doses, as reported by CNN on its website.
This vaccine uses human adenovirus technology previously used in a vaccine approved by the European Commission to combat Ebola or Zika. The company claims that this device is now used to immunize more than 100,000 people against various diseases around the world.
If the vaccine proves to be safe and effective, Johnson & Johnson expects the first doses to be approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Drug Administration, in early 2021. The company says it is on track to produce 1 billion doses per year.