‘Normality’ Draws Closer as FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
After a review of clinical trial data, the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommends that the agency issue an Emergency Use Authorization for drugmaker Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. That authorization would add a third COVID-19 vaccine to the already approved versions currently distributed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. If approved, the company says that it can deliver 20 million U.S. doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.
The J&J vaccine uses a disabled cold virus that can enter human cells, but cannot reproduce, to deliver the gene for the coronavirus spike protein. This provokes the immune system to produce antibodies and other cells to fend off infection by the COVID-19 virus. The two earlier approved vaccines deliver messenger RNA (mRNA) for the spike protein encapsulated in tiny fat particles to get muscle cells to churn out viral proteins that then prime the immune system to fight the virus.
The FDA advisory committee reports that the J&J vaccine is 66 percent effective at preventing mild/moderate COVID-19 symptoms and 85 percent effective at preventing severe symptoms. Importantly, the vaccine was 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 infections.
The J&J vaccine works after only one dose and does not need special refrigeration or other special handling. This contrasts with the
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