Another drugmaker is sharing the data that their COVID vaccine works. In clinical trials of more than 43,000 people, Johnson & Johnson’s one dose shot was 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe disease 28 days after vaccination.
“We haven't really done a good job, I think, of explaining to the public that the immune response that occurs with the vaccine sometimes takes months to mature. In the Johnson & Johnson study, which hasn't really been discussed, this protection got better the farther you got out from the vaccination,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota said.
The Johnson & Johnson shot delivers a protein from the spike of the coronavirus through a modified human common cold virus so it can enter cells but can’t replicate inside them or cause illness.
Maybe most important in this data-no one in the vaccine trials who got the active shot were hospitalized or died from the coronavirus.
"We have 100% protection and complete protection against hospitalization and death. Those that contracted cases of COVID after 28 days of being vaccinated, all of the hospitalizations, all of the deaths occurred on placebo. None occurred on those that received a vaccine," Mathai Mammen, Global Research Chief for Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutical Unit said.
Also notable, how well it worked differed depending on geography. In the U.S. the shot was 72% effective. In Latin America, 66%, and in South Africa where a COVID variant is making it easier for the virus to evade the immune system, 57%. It’s much lower than the other two vaccines the FDA has already emergency approved, but experts say it's still an important tool in the pandemic fight.
“We have now a value added vaccine candidate that will of course as what happens with every vaccine candidate will present the details of their data to the FDA,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases said.
J&J plans to seek emergency approval from the FDA next week. Then, the FDA goes through all of the data- hundreds of thousands of data points-and does its own analysis. The U.S. has an agreement to buy 100 million doses of J&J’s vaccine for a billion dollars, with an option of purchasing an additional 200 million doses.