Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine is overall 66 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe Covid-19 in those who received the jab, and 85 percent in preventing severe disease. These are the results of a preliminary analysis of a large-scale clinical trial, El Periódico reports.
The trial included almost 44,000 participants and accrued 468 symptomatic cases of Covid-19. The vaccine was 57 per cent effective in South Africa, where the 501.v2 variant first emerged, compared with 72 per cent in the US and 66 per cent in Latin America.
Those numbers aren’t as impressive as the reported figures for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines that are already being distributed via emergency FDA approval, both of which reported 90+% efficacy. But Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is a single shot rather than a two-course treatment, which should make it much easier to distribute much more quickly. The vaccine also showed 100% efficacy in preventing hospitalization or death among participants in the trial, 28 days after vaccination, which is a key measure when considering the broader impact of Covid-19 on healthcare resources.
It’s also important to note that Johnson & Johnson’s Phase 3 trial is happening amid the emergence of new strains of the virus, including much more contagious versions like the U.K. and South African variants. At the time that both Moderna and BioNTech released their trial data, these variants hadn’t yet emerged or been confirmed by pandemic researchers.
J&J has promised to price the inoculation on a “non-profit basis” for the duration of the pandemic — about $10 a shot.
Earlier, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for use in the EU.