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The finest hour of the descendant of immigrants: how the grandson of immigrants from Russia became the main expert on vaccination in the USA

Johnson & Johnson has developed its own COVID-19 vaccine. How it differs from the rest on the market, and how a descendant of immigrants from Russia could become the head of J&J, read our material.

Photo: Shutterstock

Now the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering approving the vaccine for Johnson & Johnson, headed by Alex Gorsky, writes PMLive.

What are its advantages

The J&J vaccine uses the common cold virus to inject coronavirus proteins into cells and trigger an immune response. The body recognizes "dead" viruses and reacts to them by making antibodies, but not causing disease. This technology has been used to create, for example, vaccines against polio, hepatitis B, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus or influenza. Whereas Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use a new technology called mRNA.

Unlike these vaccines, J&J 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.

The principle of operation of mRNA-based vaccines is that they contain a viral molecule - messenger RNA (mRNA), enclosed in a lipid nanoparticle. Once in the body, mRNA enters the cell and begins to synthesize pathogen-specific antigens that provoke an immune response.

The good thing about the technology is that mRNA is a fairly simple molecule, so it can be produced relatively quickly and in very large quantities. However, this method also raises the greatest concerns. The problem is that old, time-tested vaccines of this type simply do not exist, so it is not known how it will behave in the human body.

On the subject: From Siberia to New York Mayors: How an Immigrant from Russia Seeks the American Dream

But there are also a few “buts”. MRNA-based vaccines have been approved for the first time, which raises concerns about its use among both ordinary people and among doctors. This is due to the fact that it is impossible to predict the effect of the vaccine on the human body for a long time. For example, a nurse from New York, 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 assessed.

Read more about mRNA and all the pros and cons in our material.

This means that everyone who was even a little afraid of the new technology is likely to get the J&J vaccine.

FDA approval

In January 2021, J&J announced that the vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 66% in a Phase 3 trial.

The study was conducted in eight countries on three continents, with 44% of participants enrolled in the United States, 41% in Central and South America, and 15% in South Africa.

For all participants from different geographic regions, the vaccine was 19% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-66 28 days after vaccination.

In the United States, vaccine efficacy was 72%, while in Latin America and South Africa, vaccine efficacy was 66% and 57%, respectively.

In South Africa, J&J reported that 95% of the COVID-19 cases seen in the study were caused by the newly discovered variant of the B.1.351 virus.

Although the vaccine is less effective against B.1.351, which was first detected in South Africa, J&J said the shot was 85% effective in preventing severe illness in all regions studied.

J&J Chief Scientist Paul Stoffels said the company is on track to meet its goal of delivering one billion doses of its vaccine by 2021.

The vaccine may become available in the EU as early as April 1st. J&J previously signed an agreement with the European Commission (EC) to pre-purchase 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine after receiving regulatory approval.

The company also reached an agreement with the US government for 100 million doses of the candidate vaccine, with the US government committing $ 1 billion in initial shipment.

Annual COVID-19 vaccination

According to Gorsky, in the next few years, people may need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 annually, as well as against seasonal flu. CNBC.

“Unfortunately, the virus can mutate as it spreads,” he said. "The mutation could affect its ability to reflect antibodies or have a different kind of response, not only to therapeutic treatment, but also to the vaccine."

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

Public health officials and infectious disease experts have said there is a high likelihood that COVID-19 will become endemic, which means it will always be present, albeit probably at lower levels than it is now. Health officials will have to keep an eye on new variants of the virus so that scientists can produce vaccines to combat them, according to medical experts.

US officials and Wall Street analysts are eagerly awaiting approval for the J&J vaccine. In August 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services announced an approximately $ 1 billion deal with Janssen, a pharmaceutical subsidiary of J&J, to acquire 100 million doses of the vaccine. The deal gives the federal government the ability to order an additional 200 million doses, according to the statement.

Gorskiy said the company's first priority is to work with the FDA to obtain approval in the United States. He said J&J is working "at full speed" on vaccine production and the company is "extremely confident" that it will meet its target of delivering 100 million doses of its vaccine to the United States by the end of June.

“We will fulfill our obligations and at the same time we are doing everything possible to safely and efficiently accelerate production,” he said, and stressed that people “look forward to” the opportunity to get at least one chance against the virus.

J&J is also continuing work on a two-dose coronavirus vaccine, Gorsky said. The company expects data from clinical trials of a dual-vaccine vaccine to be received in the second half of 2021, he said.

Who is Alex Gorsky

Alex Gorsky has gone from an American soldier to a CEO, writes The Healthcare Technology Report.

Gorsky's rise to the pharmaceutical industry was rapid. He began his career at J&J as a sales representative for Janssen in 1988 and over the next fifteen years advanced in sales, marketing and management positions. In 2001, he became President of Janssen and eventually Chairman of the J&J Pharmaceutical Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

After that, Gorskiy temporarily left Johnson & Johnson to head the pharmaceutical division of Novartis in North America. He returned to his alma mater in 2008 and served in various chairmanships until he took first place in the company as CEO in 2012.

On the subject: Opinion of an immigrant businessman: is it possible to succeed in the USA without English

Alex Gorsky enlisted in the military at a young age and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1982 and served in the army as a ranger before ending his service as a captain. “It was a difficult and rewarding time at the same time,” he said of his time in the military. “I learned a lot about leadership, service and the important role the academy plays in shaping the future leaders of our country.”

In a 2012 Fortune article that explored the selection of a CEO for a large pharmaceutical company, Alex Gorskiy was compared to Sheri McCoy, another J&J vice chairman, who also ran for the CEO role. It has been suggested that Gorsky was favored by the board because he was considered a “tough boss,” while McCoy's management style was more compliant.

Gorsky was born in Kansas City and raised in a small town in the Midwest. Alex was the third of six children, and he describes his upbringing as "a typical American middle class family." Gorsky's grandfather and grandmother are immigrants of Croatian and Russian origin, his grandfather was in the grocery business. After moving with his family to Fremont, Michigan at the age of twelve, he learned about a family friend who was accepted at West Point. By the sixth grade, Alex decided to enter an elite military academy and did so in 1978.

What stands out about him is his unusual willingness to sincerely adhere to a certain course of action and a fierce determination to see things through. Albert Gorsky, his father, may have been an important role model in this regard, as he also had his own distinguished military career and a successful career at Gerber Products.

Gorsky was endowed with other qualities that helped him become a leader in both personal and professional life, including unusual emotional acumen, light confidence, a keen mind, and athletic ability.

Returning to his work with Johnson & Johnson, it is easy to see how a man with his poise and principles has become one of the most influential people in the pharmaceutical industry. He was awarded CADCA Humanities of the Year and recognized as one of the "100 Most Inspirational People" by Pharma Voice.

Read also on ForumDaily:

Abandoning the American Dream: the story of those who returned to their homeland

Philadelphia ordered the vaccination of residents of the company of a Russian-speaking immigrant: it all ended in a scandal

A descendant of Ukrainian immigrants and a tough critic of the Kremlin: what is known about the new US Secretary of State

'This is a dream come true': how the invention of a Ukrainian woman attracted star investors in the USA

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