Covid vaccine: Single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab is 66% effective

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 Covid vaccine: Single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab is 66% effective

A new single-dose vaccine has shown to be 66% effective against Covid-19, and offered complete protection against hospitalisation and death in trials.

However, there are signs the jab, made by Belgian pharmaceutical firm Janssen, is less effective against the new variant spreading in South Africa.

The Johnson & Johnson-owned company is looking at whether two doses will give stronger or longer-lasting protection.

It aims to make one billion doses this year.

The UK has ordered 30 million doses, the US 100 million and Canada 38 million.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said if the jab was approved by Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) it could “significantly bolster” the country’s vaccine programme.

Crucially, no one needed hospital treatment or died from coronavirus after the Janssen vaccine took effect in the international trial.

The news comes shortly after Novavax announced their jab was 89% effective overall in the UK and 60% in South Africa. Both new vaccines will need to be reviewed by regulators before they can be used.

It comes amid an ongoing dispute over whether AstraZeneca is breaking its vaccine delivery commitments to the bloc, which has seen the EU confirm that it will bring in export controls on Covid vaccines made in the bloc.

The EU has temporarily overridden a section of the Brexit deal in relation to Northern Ireland, over concerns the country could become a backdoor for vaccines from the EU to be sent into the wider UK.

Arlene Foster, DUP leader and Northern Ireland’s first minister, called the move “an incredible act of hostility” by the EU.

It comes as the UK reported a further 29,079 new coronavirus cases on Friday, and 1,245 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the government’s daily figures, bringing the total deaths by that measure to 104,371.

Crucially, the Janssen trial looked at giving just one dose of the vaccine, which makes it significantly easier to roll out than those requiring two. It is also investigating whether giving two doses will give either stronger or longer-lasting protection.

The fact it works as a single dose and can be kept in a standard fridge, while others need super-cold storage, means the vaccine could have a significant role around the world.

“A one-shot vaccine is considered by the World Health Organization to be the best option in pandemic settings,” said Dr Paul Stoffels, the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson.

He added the vaccine could “potentially protect hundreds of millions of people from serious and fatal outcomes of Covid-19”.


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