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Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine 85% effective

Published on 01/02/21 at 11:14am

Johnson & Johnson has announced that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 85% effective in preventing serious symptoms of the disease, after interim analysis of Phase III of its trial.

The shot, which was also 66% successful in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, only requires one dose rather than two - unlike other vaccines such as the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine currently being administered in the UK.

The study was conducted on 43,783 participants from eight countries, including South Africa, where it was found to be 57% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19. This eases concerns that this, and other vaccines, might be ineffective against a new strain found in the African country.

The Phase III ENSEMBLE study was a randomised, double-blind clinical trial, designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine versus a placebo in adults over 18 years old, with assessment at days 14 and 28. It demonstrated complete protection against COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death 28 days after vaccination.

The candidate can be stored for three months at temperatures of 2-8℃, meaning it can be transported and stored at fridge temperatures. It can remain stable for up to two years at a temperature of -20℃.

The UK has already placed an order for 30 million shots, pending approval by the MHRA . It is expected to cost roughly £7 per dose, about the same price as two doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Paul Stoffels, MD, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson said: “These topline results with a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate represent a promising moment.

“The potential to significantly reduce the burden of severe disease, by providing an effective and well-tolerated vaccine with just one immunisation, is a critical component of the global public health response.”

 Jack Goddard

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