J&J jab highly effective against severe Covid-19
Published : Thursday, 25 February, 2021 at 6:55 PM Count : 474
The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19, including the South African and Brazil variants, new documents released by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed Thursday, reports AFP.
In large clinical trials, the vaccine efficacy against the severe form of the disease is 85.9% in the US, 81.7% in South Africa and 87.6% in Brazil.
An independent panel of the FDA will meet to discuss its merits on Friday, and an emergency use authorisation is likely to follow soon after.
This will bring a third vaccine into the fight against the outbreak in the US, the world's hardest-hit country, where more than 500,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19.
Experts see the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a vital tool, even though its efficacy against moderate Covid-19 is lower than that demonstrated by the Pfizer and Moderna shots, which have already received authorisation.
"The vaccine was effective in preventing Covid-19 using a less restrictive definition of the disease, and for more severe disease, including Covid-19 requiring medical intervention, considering all cases starting 14 days after vaccination," said the new FDA summary.
"Although a lower efficacy overall was observed in South Africa, where there was a predominance of the B.1.3.5 lineage during the time period of this study, vaccine efficacy against severe/critical Covid-19 was similarly high across the US, South Africa and Brazil."
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a common-cold-causing adenovirus, which has been modified so that it cannot replicate, to carry the gene for a key protein of the coronavirus into human cells.
This makes those cells produce that protein, which in turn trains the human immune system.
The fact that it requires only one dose, and that it can be stored at fridge temperatures rather than in freezers like the Pfizer and Moderna shots, gives it an operational advantage.