Johnson & Johnson vaccine highly effective against severe Covid: FDA
WASHINGTON, Feb 24, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – The single-shot Johnson & Johnson
vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19, including the
South African and Brazil variants, new documents released by the US Food and
Drug Administration showed Wednesday.
In large clinical trials, the vaccine efficacy against severe disease was
85.9 percent in the United States, 81.7 percent in South Africa, and 87.6
percent in Brazil.
An independent panel of the Food and Drug Administration will meet to
discuss its merits on Friday and an emergency use authorization is likely to
follow soon after.
That would bring a third vaccine into the fight against the outbreak in the
United States, the world’s hardest-hit country where more than 500,000 people
have lost their lives.
Experts see the J&J vaccine as a vital tool, even though its efficacy
against moderate Covid-19 is lower than that demonstrated by the Pfizer and
Moderna shots that have already received authorization.
“The vaccine was effective in preventing COVID-19 using a less restrictive
definition of the disease and for more severe disease, including COVID-19
requiring medical intervention, considering all cases starting 14 days after
vaccination,” the new FDA summary said.
“Although a lower efficacy overall was observed in South Africa, where
there was a predominance of B.1.3.5 lineage during the time period of this
study, vaccine efficacy against severe/critical COVID-19 was similarly high
across the United States, South Africa, and Brazil,” it added.
The J&J vaccine uses a common-cold causing adenovirus, which has been
modified so that it can’t replicate, to carry the gene for a key protein of
the coronavirus into human cells.
This makes those cells produce that protein, which in turn trains the human
The fact that it requires only one dose, and that it can be stored at
fridge temperature rather than in freezers like the Pfizer and Moderna shots,
gives it an operational advantage.