There is good news on the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
Early results from a Phase 1 / 2a clinical trial show it was well tolerated and even one dose appeared to produce a strong immune response in almost all 800 participants.
The trial included two age groups: 18 to 55 and 65 and older, and looked at the safety and side effects of two different doses. Initial trial results suggest the vaccine elicits an immune response and is safe enough to move into large-scale trials.
The study was published on MedRxiv, but it has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.
The researchers found that 99% of participants aged 18 to 55 in both dose groups had developed antibodies to the virus 29 days after being vaccinated. Analysis revealed that most of the side effects, such as fever, headache, fatigue, aches and pain at the injection site, were mild and went away after a few days.
Some of the participants will receive a second injection of the vaccine as part of the trial.
The vaccine – called Ad26.COV2.S – uses the same technology as that used for Ebola, Zika, HIV and RSV vaccines from Johnson & Johnson.
Phase 3 trials will examine the safety and effectiveness of a single dose versus placebo in preventing symptomatic Covid-19. Johnson & Johnson has announced plans to recruit 60,000 adult volunteers at more than 200 locations in the United States and around the world.
The fact that the trial will look at the effectiveness of a single dose of the vaccine, instead of two doses, should speed up results, according to Dr Paul Stoffels, scientific director of Johnson & Johnson.
So far, this is the only Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial in the United States that tests a single dose of the vaccine.
The company says stricter vaccine guidelines being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could lengthen the company’s vaccination schedule.
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