On Monday, Johnson & Johnson made an announcement.
They said that testing on humans for their experimental vaccine will commence in September and should be available early next year in case of authorization for emergency use.
J&J said that it had allotted $1B of investment in partnership with the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a subsidiary of the Department of Health and Human Services, co-funding the research.
For Phase1, J&J’s lead vaccine candidate will start by September and will know the effects of it by the end of this year. If the vaccine is effective, then it will be available for those emergency usages in 2021.
In that case, J&J’s pre-market trading rose by more than 4%. It is also doing more on its manufacturing capacity, adding more sites in the US and other sites in other countries to be able to produce them and distribute the vaccine immediately.
The company has a target of 1 billion doses of the said vaccine.
The Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky announced on Monday on CNBC that, “We have excellent early indicators that not only can we depend on this to be a safe vaccine base but also one that will ultimately be effective based on all the early testing and modeling we’ve been doing. This is a bit of a moonshot for J&J going forward, but it’s one we feel is very, very important for users to be doing at this period in time.”
In a statement, he said, “The world is facing an urgent public health crisis, and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible.”
HE also mentioned that it is doing the vaccine for a “not-for-profit basis” but didn’t comment on the estimated cost for the consumer.
Other than that, Johnson & Johnson, as the top leading vaccine candidate, also has two back-ups and is now working on another COVID-19 vaccine early next year. The pace for a vaccine is more or less 5-7 years.
A lot of companies are trying to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. It has killed more than 34,000 worldwide, but experts have warned that it would take more than a year to prepare a vaccine.
Moderna’s vaccine was already given to one patient for their early-stage trial making it the first runner in developing a vaccine. They said it would be possible that a vaccine would be created this fall.
They didn’t comment further on other details. CanSino Biological is also another of the candidate doing its phase 1 trial, according to the World Health Organization.
Some of the health authorities are using the antiviral drug Remdesivir, that was used during the Ebola outbreak as of the moment that there are still no vaccines available in the market.
Bernstein analyst Wimal Kapadia, however, has something to say about it, “Developing a vaccine would be significantly more challenging if the virus is changing fast enough to cause true reinfections and would undermine the immunity patients develop from natural infections.”
He added, Based on our initial read, our assumption here is that immunity lasts for two years and that the virus does not mutate significantly, meaning a vaccine with regular boosters (not just in high-risk patients), could be the outcome.”
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