Johnson & Johnson is working on final testing of their version of a COVID-19 vaccine, and there’s a lot of hope that when it is approved it will play a huge role in helping focus the immunization campaign that has been haphazard at best.
A recent late-stage trial shows that in a study of more than 43,000 people, the vaccine prevented 66% of moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. On the surface, that might not sound impressive, considering Pfizer and Moderna’s testing was over 90% effective. The reason there is excitement about Johnson & Johnson’s version is it is a one shot vaccine. Not the double dose required by the others. Plus, this was especially effective at stopping severe versions of COVID, preventing 85% of severe infections, and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths.
With these test results, the plan is for J&J to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an emergency-use authorization next week. The hope is it will be approved and cleared for use some time in March. The company said that the U.S. would receive 100 million doses of the drug by the end of June. “If you can prevent severe disease in a high percentage of individuals, that will alleviate so much of the stress and human suffering” of the pandemic, said Anthony Fauci at a briefing on the results of the tests.
The news of the test results affected J&J stock, but not in a positive way. Wall Street investors were hoping for an overall efficiency number of 80% or above, and the stock price fell 3.7% to $162.88 on Friday.
If J&J’s vaccine is confirmed, the results suggest show that people around the world could get one dose of the vaccine to provide initial protection against severe effects of COVID, allowing them to return to their normal lives, then a second booster shot the company is working on could be used later in the year if needed.