Home Health News J&J vaccine adds to COVID-19 armoury, includes South African variant

J&J vaccine adds to COVID-19 armoury, includes South African variant

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(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson mentioned on Friday that its single-dose vaccine was 66% efficient in stopping COVID-19 in a big international trial in opposition to a number of variants, giving health officers one other weapon to sort out the pandemic.

Vials with a sticker studying, “COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only” and a medical syringe are seen in entrance of a displayed Johnson & Johnson emblem on this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

In the trial of practically 44,000 volunteers, the extent of safety in opposition to reasonable and extreme COVID-19 assorted from 72% within the United States, to 66% in Latin America and simply 57% in South Africa, from the place a worrying variant has unfold.

The knowledge confirmed that the vaccine’s impact on the South Africa variant was diminished in contrast to the unaltered virus, however infectious illness and public health consultants mentioned it may nonetheless assist comprise the virus unfold and forestall deaths.

Midstage trial knowledge from Novavax on Thursday additionally documented decrease effectiveness in South Africa.

Rival pictures from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna had been each round 95% efficient in stopping symptomatic sickness in pivotal trials when given in two doses.

Those trials had been carried out primarily within the United States and earlier than the emergence of recent variants. These imply that the world is racing in opposition to time and with restricted provides to vaccinate as many individuals as attainable, and rapidly, to stop virus surges.

COVID-19 is rising in 37 nations and infections have surpassed 101 million globally.

Top U.S. infectious illness specialist Anthony Fauci mentioned the world wants to vaccinate rapidly to strive to get forward of those modifications within the virus.

“It’s really a wake up call for us to be nimble and to be able to adjust as this virus will continue for certain to evolve,” Fauci mentioned.

J&J’s important purpose was the prevention of reasonable to extreme COVID-19, and the vaccine was 85% efficient in stopping extreme illness and stopping hospitalization throughout all geographies and in opposition to a number of variants 28 days after immunization.

That “will potentially protect hundreds of millions of people from serious and fatal outcomes of COVID-19,” Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, mentioned.

J&J shares had been down 4% at $162.7 at 1700 GMT, with some Wall Street analysts saying its vaccine’s effectiveness was beneath these of rivals. Moderna’s inventory gained 8% to $172.80.


J&J plans to search emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration subsequent week and can quickly observe up with the European Union and the remainder of the world.

It has mentioned it plans to ship 1 billion doses of the vaccine, which it is going to make within the United States, Europe, South Africa and India, in 2021.

Public health officers are relying on it to improve much-needed provide and simplify immunization within the United States, which has a deal to purchase 100 million doses of J&J’s vaccine and an choice for an extra 200 million.

J&J mentioned the vaccine can be prepared instantly upon emergency approval, however Stoffels declined to say what number of doses.

“The key is not only overall efficacy but specifically efficacy against severe disease, hospitalization, and death,” mentioned Walid Gellad, a health coverage affiliate professor on the University of Pittsburgh.

J&J’s vaccine makes use of a standard chilly virus to introduce coronavirus proteins into cells and set off an immune response, whereas the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines make use of a brand new expertise known as messenger RNA.

Unlike these vaccines, J&J’s doesn’t require a second shot weeks after the primary or want to be stored frozen, making it a robust candidate to be used in components of the world the place transportation and chilly storage present issues.

“Most countries are still desperate to get their hands on doses, regardless of whether or not the vaccine is considered highly effective. Moderately effective will do just fine for now,” Michael Breen, Director of Infectious Diseases and Ophthalmology at analysis firm GlobalData, mentioned.


Several research have emerged this month displaying {that a} South African variant has mutated in areas of the virus which are key targets of vaccines, lowering their efficacy.

“What we are learning is there is different efficacy in different parts of the world,” Stoffels instructed Reuters.

In a sub-study of 6,000 volunteers in South Africa, Stoffels mentioned, the J&J vaccine was 89% efficient at stopping extreme illness. In the South Africa portion of the trial, 95% of circumstances had been infections with the South African variant.

“I am overwhelmed by the fact that this vaccine protected against severe disease even in South Africa,” mentioned Glenda Gray, the joint lead investigator of the South African vaccine trial.

In the J&J trial, which was carried out in eight nations, 44% of members had been from the United States, 41% from Central and South America and 15% from South Africa. Just over a 3rd of the volunteers had been over 60.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Additional reporting by Manas Mishra, Dania Nadeem and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengalaru, Rebecca Spalding and Michael Erman in New York and Promit Mukherjee in Johannesburg; Writing by Alexander Smith; Editing by Peter Henderson, Edwina Gibbs, Keith Weir and Caroline Humer

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