Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate enters late-stage trials

Dec 18 2020, 5:36 pm

Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson has announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has entered the late-stage trials.

The pharmaceutical company said about 45,000 participants are currently enrolled in the trials, with interim data expected by the end of January 2021.

If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate proves effective, the company says it will submit an emergency use authorization application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February.

Johnson & Johnson’s study, named Ensemble, was paused for over a week in October after a test patient developed an “unexplained illness” during initial tests. The company resumed the trial after an evaluation found “no clear cause of the illness.”

Though J&J is trailing behind its rivals Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., the potential Johnson & Johnson vaccine would require only a single dose compared to its rival’s two shots per person.

According to the company, the vaccine’s initial trials show that 98% of participants had developed antibodies against the COVID-19 virus one month after receiving the shot.

Canada signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson in the fall to receive up to 38 million doses of the company’s vaccine if approved for use by Health Canada.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would receive 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021.

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