(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson launched US human safety tests for its COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday after the details of a study in monkeys showed that its most powerful vaccine candidate offers strong protection in a single dose.
FILE: The Johnson & Johnson logo will be displayed on the screen to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, USA, September 17, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
Following exposure to the virus, six of the six animals that received the vaccine candidate were completely protected from lung disease, and five of the six animals were protected from infection as measured by the presence of the virus in nasal swabs according to a study published in the journal. Nature.
“This gives us confidence that in this epidemic, we can test a single-dose vaccine to see if it has a protective effect on humans,” Dr. told Reuters. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientist at J&J.
The drug dealer said he began early human trials in the United States and Belgium and was testing his vaccine candidate in more than 1,000 healthy adults aged 18-55, as well as adults aged 65 and over.
The U.S. government supports J & J’s efforts to vaccinate with $ 456 million in funding as part of spending to accelerate the production of a vaccine to end a pandemic that has infected millions of people and killed more than 660,000 people.
Stoffels said previous tests of this type of vaccine in other diseases had found that the second attempt significantly increased protection. But in the event of a pandemic, a single vaccine has a significant advantage that eliminates many of the logistical problems associated with forcing people to return to the second dose.
The company plans to take over the issue of one or two doses in the first phase of the study.
Depending on these results, J&J plans to start large-scale phase 3 testing with a one-time regimen in the second half of September. At about the same time, the company will begin a parallel phase 3 study to test the dual vaccine regimen, Stoffels said.
The J&J vaccine uses a common cold virus known as adenovirus type 26 or Ad26 to transport coronavirus proteins into cells in the body, causing the body to increase its immunity to the virus.
In a monkey study, researchers from J&J and Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center studied seven different potential vaccines in 32 animals and compared the results with 20 control animals given placebo.
Six weeks later, all animals were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 virus. All 20 animals that received placebo developed high levels of the virus in their lungs and nasal swabs.
In the best-performing candidates that J&J chose for human testing, none of the animals had virus in their lungs and only one showed low levels of virus in nasal swabs. Laboratory tests have shown that they all developed antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus after a single shot.
“This study shows that even a single immunization with Ad26 vaccine leads to neutralization of antibody responses and robust protection of monkeys against COVID-19,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, vaccine researcher at Beth Israel Deaconness, who led the research in collaboration with J J.
Shares of J&J rose nearly 2% to $ 149.72 before the bell on Thursday.
A report by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Other news Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Edited by Richard Pullin and Shounak Dasgupta