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J&J’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is 66% Effective Against Disease And Prevents Hospitalizations, Deaths

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TOPLINE Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine has demonstrated 66% effectiveness in preventing moderate and severe disease, the company said in a press release on Friday, noting that the overall number was dragged down by the 57% efficacy rate in South Africa which is seeing the spread of the more contagious B.1.351 variant.

KEY FACTS

The vaccine is 85% effective against severe disease and the drugmaker reported that there were no cases with hospitalizations or deaths 28 days after vaccination, suggesting that the vaccine’s effectiveness rises over time.

Unlike vaccines that have currently been approved for use, Johnson & Johnson’s shot has been trialed as a single dose shot which could significantly simplify the logistics around its rollout.

The large-scale phase three trial data is based on results from 43,783 participants across eight countries of whom 463 people got symptomatic cases of Covid-19.

Unlike vaccines that have currently been approved for use, Johnson & Johnson’s shot has been trialed as a single dose shot which could significantly simplify the logistics around its rollout.

According to both CNN and the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson is planning to apply for emergency use authorization of the vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as soon as next week, which then may be granted later in February.

Once approved, the drugmaker will launch the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

SUPRISING FACT

Unlike the presently approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which use a new mRNA technology, Johnson & Johnson’s shot relies on a more established technique of using an adenovirus — a weakened common cold virus — to carry the genetic instructions into the body to prompt an immune response.

BIG NUMBER

100 million. That’s the number of vaccine doses that Johnson & Johnson has pledged to deliver to the federal government by June. Since this vaccine is administered as a single dose, it could be used to immunize 100 million people.

KEY BACKGROUND

Emergency approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be key to the Biden administration’s plans to swiftly ramp up inoculations against the coronavirus in the U.S. The trial results also highlight the need for a speedy rollout as newer, more contagious strains of the virus emerge in the U.K., Brazil, and South Africa. As with Johnson and Johnson, other vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax have also reported a reduction in effectiveness against the South African variant. Moderna has also started trialing a booster shot to improve people’s immunity against the more contagious strain.

FURTHER READING

Johnson & Johnson’s Vaccine Offers Strong Protection but Fuels Concern About Variants (New York Times)

Novavax Covid Vaccine Is Highly Effective Against U.K. Variant But Struggled In South Africa, Data Shows (Forbes)

By Siladitya Ray, Forbes Staff

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