Johnson & Johnson to start human safety trial for Covid-19 vaccine
Johnson & Johnson on Thursday started human safety trials for its Covid-19 vaccine after releasing potentially promising details of a study on macaque monkeys.
The vaccine, which has received $456m in funding from the US government, is its best-performing candidate and the study showed that it offers strong protection with just a single dose.
The best-performing vaccine candidate, which J&J selected for human testing, caused all six of the six animals tested to have no sign of the virus in their lungs and only one showed low levels of virus in nasal swabs. Lab tests showed they all had developed antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus after a single shot.
“This gives us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and learn whether it has a protective effect in humans,” Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Stoffels said prior tests of this type of vaccine in other diseases found that a second shot significantly increases protection, but the company is seeking a one dose treatment if possible. J&J said it will decide on the dosage in the phase 1 trial.
The company will then begin two parallel phase 3 studies in late September where it will test single and two-shot regimens of the vaccine.
J&J shares were up nearly 2% at $149.72 before the market open on Thursday.