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J&J vaccine 66% effective: why those who feared Pfizer and Moderna will get this vaccine

Johnson & Johnson said on Friday, January 29 that its vaccine is 66% effective in preventing COVID-19 and is providing the world with another weapon to fight the pandemic. Writes about it Reuters.

Photo: Shutterstock

In a trial of nearly 44 volunteers, protection against moderate to severe COVID-000 ranged from 19% in the United States to 72% in Latin America and just 66% in South Africa, where the new strain is spreading.

The data showed that the vaccine had less effect on the South African variant compared to the unmodified virus, but infectious disease and public health experts said it could still help contain the virus and prevent deaths.

Intermediate data from Novavax also confirmed lower efficacy against the strain from South Africa.

Competitive vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna were approximately 95% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in major trials.

These tests were carried out mainly in the United States and before the emergence of new strains. This means that as many people as possible need to be vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent outbreaks of new strains.

On the subject: COVID-19 Vaccine Allergies and Deaths: What We Know About It

The incidence of COVID-19 is on the rise in 37 countries, and the number of infections worldwide has exceeded 101 million.

Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease specialist in the United States, said the world needs to get vaccinated quickly to try to stay ahead of these changes in the virus.

“This is really a wake-up call for us as this virus will certainly continue to develop,” says Fauci.

J&J's primary goal was to prevent moderate to severe COVID-19, and the vaccine was 85% effective in stopping severe illness as well as preventing hospitalization in all regions and against multiple variants 28 days after immunization.

This "will potentially protect hundreds of millions of people from the serious and fatal consequences of COVID-19," said Paul Stoffels, chief scientist at J&J.

J&J shares fell 4% to $ 162,7, with some Wall Street analysts claiming that this was due to the vaccine being less effective than its competitors. Moderna shares rose 8% to $ 172,8.

J&J plans to request an emergency use from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) next week. The company intends to reach out to the European Union and the world soon.

The company said it plans to deliver 1 billion doses of the vaccine, which it will manufacture in the US, Europe, South Africa and India in 2021.

Public health officials expect this to increase much-needed supplies and ease immunization in the United States, which has a deal to purchase 100 million doses of J&J vaccine with an option of an additional 200 million.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York

J&J said the vaccine would be ready as soon as an emergency authorization was received, but Stoffels declined to say how many doses.

“The key is not only overall effectiveness, but, in particular, effectiveness against serious illness, hospitalizations and death,” said Walid Gellad, assistant professor of health policy at the University of Pittsburgh.

The J&J vaccine uses the common cold virus to inject coronavirus proteins into cells and trigger an immune response, while the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use a new technology called mRNA.

Unlike these vaccines, the J & J's does not require re-vaccination weeks after the first and does not need to be stored frozen, making it a good candidate for use in parts of the world where transportation and storage is problematic.

“Most countries are still desperate to get their hands on doses, regardless of whether the vaccine is considered highly effective. Moderately effective is fine for now, ”said Michael Brin, director of infectious diseases and ophthalmology at research firm GlobalData.

Several studies emerged this month showing that the South African variant has mutated, reducing the effectiveness of vaccinations.

“We know that efficiency is different in different parts of the world,” Stoffels said.

In a follow-up study involving 6000 volunteers in South Africa, he said, the J&J vaccine was 89% effective in preventing severe illness. In the South African portion of the trial, 95% of cases were infected with the South African variant.

On the subject: Ukrainians living abroad spoke about their experience of vaccination against COVID-19

“I am amazed at the fact that this vaccine protects against serious illness even in South Africa,” said Glenda Gray, lead researcher for the South African vaccine trial.

In the J&J trial, which was conducted in eight countries, 44% of participants were from the United States, 41% from Central and South America, and 15% from South Africa. Just over a third of the volunteers were over 60 years old.

Other vaccines

As of January 2021, 69 candidate drugs are undergoing various phases of clinical trials. NPlus1.

Nine are already in use in at least one country in the world, including those based on mRNA (developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), an adenoviral vector (Gamaleya Center and Oxford-AstraZeneca), inactivated coronavirus (Sinopharm, Bharat Biotech and Sinovac) and peptide antigens (center "Vector"). The American pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co recently abandoned the development of its own vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a vector vaccine. This can be a solution for those who are afraid to inject themselves with an mRNA vaccine. About what these vaccines are and why they are afraid, read in our material.

A nurse from New York, for example, refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19because, according to her, the long-term impact of mRNA technology on the human body has not yet been unambiguously assessed.

“There is no data on long-term effects. This data is collected on you, ”said Rachel, who is a nurse at an outpatient mental health facility in Suffolk County. At the same time, she admits that she is afraid of contracting COVID-19, but does not agree to the vaccination yet.

The lack of many data on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines worries Rachel, so she plans to spend more time studying the vaccine. In addition, the nurse is researching information about the drug from Johnson & Johnson - one of her friends is participating in clinical trials of this vaccine.

“I am loyal to this vaccine because it is made in a more traditional way,” Rachel said, and noted that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is similar to the flu vaccine that is adjusted annually to combat different strains of the influenza virus.

The third phase of testing began in September 2020 after receiving positive intermediate results of phases I and II. During the study, 468 cases of the disease were registered. The report does not provide data on how many cases were reported in the placebo group, and how many were among those vaccinated.

The overall vaccine efficacy for the prevention of moderate to severe COVID-19 at 28 days after injection was estimated at 66%. The drug has shown 85% effectiveness in the prevention of severe forms of the disease. The protective effect was observed as early as two weeks after its introduction.

The safety monitoring of the candidate vaccine was carried out by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent expert group, which concluded that the drug was well tolerated and did not raise significant concerns. Johnson & Johnson said that follow-up will continue for up to two years after the vaccine.

To date, it remains unclear exactly how many antibodies are needed to fully protect against COVID-19. There are few known cases when patients with anti-coronavirus immunoglobulins in their blood were re-infected and showed clinical manifestations of the disease.

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