New data published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has sparked significant interest in the Covid-19 vaccine currently being developed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
Analyzing preliminary results from trials, the vaccine is now at the centre of much attention as the rollout of mass vaccination programmes gather pace due to its single-dose nature.
In December, J&J completed enrolment for its 45,000-participant phase three clinical trial and results are expected from it later this month. If these indicate the vaccine is safe and effective, J&J will seek Emergency Use Authorization from the various global health regulators such as the FDA and MHRA as early as February.
If approved, over 500m doses of the vaccine alongside those from Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna will be distributed across the US, UK, and EU with a further 500m being provided to lower-income countries in 2022.
While the vaccines currently in circulation are making hugely positive impacts and giving much-needed hope of a return to normal life, their reliance of two doses per patient each is resource-heavy and expensive.
It is hoped the one-dose J&J vaccine will be a real game changer in the fight against coronavirus. Results provided by the company revealed that all volunteers who received the vaccine produced detectable antibodies, regardless of their age group, within 57 days with most producing them within just 28 days.
Not only could this prove more cost effective, but it would also simplify logistics for under-pressure healthcare providers and mean more individuals could be vaccinated within much faster timeframes.
The J&J vaccine is also boosted by the fact that it does not require special storage arrangements and only needs to be kept at 2–8 degrees Celsius.
To ensure maximum efficacy is achieved, J&J is already recruiting for a further round of trials which will give participants two doses of the vaccine spaced two months apart. This will allow scientists to ascertain if a second dose is required to provide greater, or longer, protection.
However, hopes are firmly pinned on the vaccine being robust and effective enough to ensure the one-dose will be sufficient to ward off Coronavirus infection.
With further results due in the coming weeks, anticipation for the single-dose vaccine is high. That said, the importance of the two-dose formulas remains as integral as ever in curbing the pandemic as is the learning, research and data collated by Johnson & Johnson in recent months.
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