April 1, 2020

Johnson & Johnson announces lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19

Human trials to begin Sept 2020

By Sola Ogundipe

Johnson & Johnson as part of the commitment to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use has announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020,  and it expects to initiate human clinical studies no later than September 2020.

The rapid scaling of the Company’s manufacturing capacity is in place, with the goal of providing a global supply of more than one billion doses of a safe, effective vaccine globally.

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This is being done through an expanded partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, BARDA.

According to a statement, the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.

Through a landmark new partnership, BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Johnson & Johnson together have committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing.

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Johnson & Johnson will use its validated vaccine platform and is allocating resources, including personnel and infrastructure globally, as needed, to focus on these efforts.

Separately, BARDA and the Company have provided additional funding that will enable the expansion of their ongoing work to identify potential antiviral treatments against the novel coronavirus.