J&J one-shot vaccine moves closer to FDA approval

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The advisors of the US FDA gave unanimous approval for the one-shot Covid-19 vaccine of Johnson and Johnson, AP reported. The next and final step for the green light for J&J will be the general vote in FDA.

The new vaccine is seen as easiest for transport storage and administration. At the moment three vaccines are licensed for use in US. However, they require extremely low temperatures for storage and transport. In addition, in order to be ultimately effective, all vaccines need to be administered through two shots.

More than 47 million people in the US, or 14% of the population, have received at least one-shot of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which FDA authorized in December. But the pace of vaccinations has been strained by limited supplies and delays due to winter storms.

Early J&J supplies will be small, the company has said it can deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and a total of 100 million by the end of June. J&J’s vaccine protects against the worst effects of Covid-19 after one-shot, and it can be stored up to three months at refrigerator temperatures, making it easier to handle than the previous vaccines, which must be frozen.

The two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95% effective against symptomatic Covid-19. The numbers from J&J’s study are not that high, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. One dose of the J&J vaccine was 85% protective against the most severe Covid-19. After adding in moderate cases, the total effectiveness dropped to about 66%.

Importantly, the FDA reported this week that, just like its predecessors, the J&J shot offers strong protection against the worst outcomes, hospitalization and death. While J&J is seeking FDA authorization for its single-dose version, the company is also studying whether a second dose boosts protection.

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