Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine Shown To Be 66 Percent Effective

Terrence Smith

The medical device company Johnson & Johnson released the results from a global study of their coronavirus vaccine. The study, which consisted of almost 44,000 volunteers, showed that their vaccine is 66 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe versions of the virus, as reported by Reuters.

The study was conducted in the United States, Latin America and South Africa, seeing varying results based on the region. The vaccine proved most effective in the United States, where it showed 72 percent effectiveness, followed by Latin America with 66 percent and 57 percent in South Africa. The lower effectiveness in South Africa raises concerns that it may not work well against a variant spreading in the country. That variant was reported in the U.S. for the first time on Thursday.

However, the vaccine did prove to work very well in preventing serious forms of the disease, showing an 85 percent effectiveness after 28 days against coronavirus cases strong enough to require hospitalization.

Johnson & Johnson said it will apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to begin administering the vaccine. The company plans to deliver 1 billion doses of their vaccine in 2021, with plans for production in the United States, Europe, South Africa and India. Johnson & Johnson said the vaccine would be ready immediately upon emergency approval, but did not specify the number of doses available.

Unlike the currently approved vaccines from drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer, this vaccine is given as a single shot and does not require ultracold storage. Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines were proven to be 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic illness when given two doses, but those trials were primarily held in the United States before the emergence of the variants.

Top U.S. infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci pointed to the differing effectiveness against variants as a major reason to complete the vaccination process as quickly as possible and prevent other variations from emerging.

"It's really a wake up call for us to be nimble and to be able to adjust as this virus will continue for certain to evolve," Fauci said.

The United States already has a deal to purchase 100 million doses once approved, with the option to buy 200 million more.

Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson, gave an optimistic outlook on the results of the study.

"These topline results with a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate represent a promising moment. A one-shot vaccine is considered by the World Health Organization to be the best option in pandemic settings, enhancing access, distribution and compliance," he said in a statement from the company.