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29 Jan, 2021 15:23

Johnson & Johnson one-dose Covid-19 vaccine shown to be 66 percent effective against virus in phase 3 trials

Johnson & Johnson one-dose Covid-19 vaccine shown to be 66 percent effective against virus in phase 3 trials

The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by US company Johnson & Johnson has been found to be 66 percent effective at treating moderate and severe infections 28 days after vaccination, a large-scale phase 3 clinical trial has found.

The one-dose vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson’s Belgian subsidiary Janssen, achieved 72 percent efficacy in preventing Covid-19 in US trials, while the lower success rate of 66 percent was observed in international trials, J&J said on Friday.

The jab is less effective than those made by BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, although the Janssen trials did exclude mild Covid-19 cases, meaning the accuracy of comparisons is limited.

Unlike other jabs, only one dose of Janssen’s vaccine is required, although extra trials to determine the efficacy of two doses are being carried out in the UK.

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“A one-shot vaccine is considered by the World Health Organization to be the best option in pandemic settings, enhancing access, distribution and compliance,” said Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson.

Interim data for the Janssen jab also shows that it offers some protection against the 501.V2 Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa late last year, which some scientists had worried could be resistant to vaccines.

Trials of the vaccine involved 43,783 participants and were conducted across three continents and in multiple countries, including South Africa, where efficacy was found to be 57 percent.

No safety concerns have been reported for the vaccine and none of the participants required hospital treatment or died after taking it.

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The EU, which is currently facing a shortage of vaccines, has ordered at least 200 million doses of the Janssen jab, while the US has ordered 100 million, and the UK 30 million.

On Friday, another vaccine made by US firm Novavax was found to be 89.3 percent effective at preventing Covid-19, according to data from phase 3 trials involving 15,000 people in the UK.

The solution was also shown to be 86 percent effective at protecting against the B117 variant of Covid-19 discovered in the UK last year. The country has ordered 60 million doses of the jab.

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