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Johnson & Johnson expects to report Covid-19 vaccine results next week

The vaccine is a one-dose shot.

Image: /PA Images

JOHNSON & JOHNSON expects to report results from the eagerly-anticipated clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine next week, the US pharmaceutical’s chief financial officer told CNBC today.

The company will apply for an emergency approval in the US for its single-dose shot and will likely become the third authorised vaccine in the US soon after that.

Today Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Emer Cooke said this is also likely the next vaccine in line for approval in Europe after the expected approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week.

It is being examined on a rolling basis but there is no indicative date for approval and the EMA is awaiting the company’s application for authorisation. 

The company’s chief financial officer Joseph Wolk said the firm plans to report by early next week. 

He added that the phase 3 study of 45,000 people across 80 countries potentially included cases of new strains identified in South Africa and Brazil.

“In terms of supply we’re very confident and on track to meet all of our commitments,” he added.

These include 100 million doses to the US by the end of June, about 200 million doses by the end of the year to the EU with shipments starting in April, and 200 million doses to developing countries that will begin shipping in the second half of the year.

Like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the J&J shot delivers genetic instructions for human cells to create a specific protein of the coronavirus, in order to train the immune system for the live virus.

The Pfizer and Moderna use single-stranded RNA molecules, while the J&J vaccine deploys double-stranded DNA that gets converted to RNA inside human cells, in order to achieve the same goal.

The DNA piggybacks a ride on a modified, non-replicating version of a common-cold causing adenovirus. This virus acts as a vehicle to deliver genetic cargo into the nucleus of human cells.

The AstraZeneca, Sputnik and CanSino vaccines all use a similar approach, referred to as “adenoviral vector vaccines.”

They are more rugged than the cutting-edge RNA vaccines and can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, rather than requiring deep freezers.

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- © AFP 2021.

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