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Johnson & Johnson, Novavax inch closer to Covid-19 vaccines

By Nancy Bowne
Staff Writer

New Jersey pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and Maryland-based company Novavax have launched plans for their Phase Three trials for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine will test 60,000 people over the age of 18 from the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa, according to The New York Times. The trial is aiming to have clinical results by the end of the calendar year.

Notable improvements of this vaccine, which is adenovirus-based, would include its transportation accessibility considering it only needs to be refrigerated and not frozen, according to The New York Times. Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccines, on the other hand, will need to be frozen at extremely cold temperatures.

According to BioPharma Reporter, the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson can also be distributed through a single dose rather than two doses over the course of several weeks, allowing more vaccines to be distributed to a greater population. 

According to NBC News, the vaccine “combines genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 … with an adenovirus, which causes the common cold, but has been genetically altered to be harmless in this case.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is poised to have results, and potentially be approved for widespread use by the end of the year (Envato Elements).

Johnson & Johnson also released on their website that they also “agreed in principle to collaborate with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the U.K. Government) on a separate Phase 3 clinical trial in multiple countries to explore a two-dose regimen of Janssen’s vaccine candidate.”

While the trial hasn’t received official results yet, The New York Times reports that Johnson & Johnson and other companies are making a surplus supply of their vaccines, in case it could be quickly distributed to the public, which could begin as early as 2021 or sooner. 

Based On FOX Business’ reporting, Dr. Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer, announced in a statement that the pre-clinical data has already detailed that the “SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate generated a strong antibody response and provided protection with a single dose.” 

According to The Wall Street Journal, however, it might take months and possibly years to develop a completely safe and durable vaccine from Phase Three. Regardless, “positive interim results from Phase 3 may be enough for a vaccine to start getting regulatory approval for mass production and distribution in the meantime. Several of the leading vaccine candidates expect interim results this fall.” 

Another pharmaceutical company creating vaccines includes Novavax, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, who announced on Sept. 24 on their website that they will begin their Phase Three vaccine trials in the U.K. with 10,000 participants. 

Novavax, who has never brought a successful product to the market yet, will reportedly begin U.S. trials “‘very soon,’” according to Business Insider. 

“Novavax has scaled up its manufacturing capacity in anticipation of developing a successful Covid-19 vaccine, and will be able to produce up to 2 billion annualized doses once capacity has been brought online by mid-2021,” according to Business Insider.

Pfizer and Moderna are also companies that are forming front-runner vaccines, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

An official vaccine for Covid-19 has been a tenacious topic during the 2020 presidential election, as President Trump wanted to have a completed product ready for public distribution before November. According to NBC News, it will take at least two months, however, until Johnson & Johnson can yield preliminary results.


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