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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

Johnson & Johnson begins the last stage of clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson begins the last stage of clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson became the fourth pharmaceutical group to begin phase 3 clinical trials of its experimental vaccine against Covid-19 in the United States on Wednesday.

If the results are positive, the company hopes to be able to file an emergency authorization request with the United States Drug Administration (FDA) in early 2021, according to a statement.

The Johnson & Johnson trial will involve 60,000 volunteers from three continents who will be given a single dose.

The biotech company Moderna was the first in the United States, in July, to begin phase 3, which consists of measuring the efficacy of the product on a large scale in thousands of volunteers. Followed Pfizer and its partner BionTech , then came AstraZeneca .

Anthony Fauci, director of the American Institute of Infectious Diseases, said in a statement that it is an unprecedented fact that four experimental vaccines are in such an advanced stage only eight months after the new coronavirus has been identified.

Various forms of vaccination are likely to be needed to meet global needs, Fauci warned.

Johnson & Johnson, which announced its commitment to distribute the vaccine without profit, emphasized that it will continue to increase its production capacity to be able to deliver 1 billion doses of vaccine per year.

The public opinion about the vaccines is quite divided, especially in the United States. About half of U.S. adults (51%) now say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 if it were available today; nearly as many (49%) say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated at this time. Intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has fallen from 72% in May, a 21 percentage point drop.

The share who would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine now stands at just 21% – half the share that said this four months ago.

There are widespread public concerns about aspects of the vaccine development process. On the heels of a pledge from nine pharmaceutical companies to ensure that a potential vaccine would meet rigorous standards, the Center survey finds three-quarters of Americans (77%) think it’s very or somewhat likely a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in the United States before its safety and effectiveness are fully understood. And when asked about the pace of the vaccine approval process, 78% say their greater concern is that it will move too fast, without fully establishing safety and effectiveness, compared with just 20% who are more concerned approval will move too slowly, creating unnecessary delays.

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