Two COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the nation continues to see record numbers of coronavirus cases.
In the midst of all the news from Pfizer and Moderna, though, another company has announced it made progress in its own vaccine trials.
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Johnson & Johnson took a big step forward this week as they announced their phase 3 trials are now fully enrolled with 45,000 people.
“It offers the potential of a single shot vaccine, which is what’s being tried right now,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, the Director of the Center for Virology & Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Dr. Barouch is a lead researcher on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate. He says, unlike Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines, Johnson & Johnson's could potentially only require a single dose. It also doesn’t need to be stored in ultra-cold storage like the Pfizer vaccine. Both of which could help get it to places faster.
“Logistic advantages of not needing a subzero freezing will be an advantage for certain parts of the United States but will be a vast advantage for the developing world,” said Dr. Barouch.
The vaccine, which is being developed in partnership with Beth Israel, also uses slightly different technology than the two that have already been approved by the FDA.
“It’s a common cold virus that’s been deactivated so it can’t cause disease and we stitch in the DNA for the COVID-19 spike protein,” said Dr. Barouch.
Johnson & Johnson says data from its phase 3 trials will be ready in January, and the company hopes to submit an emergency use authorization application with the FDA in February.