FDA reveals that Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 86% effective

johnson & Johnson, mutation
© Roman Chazov

New documents from the FDA show that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears to be 86% effective against COVID-19 – signalling that it will soon be approved in the US

The Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine has been found to be 86% effective against COVID, when both doses are given. This is an increase of 1% on the last batch of data released by the New Jersey-based drugmaker.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is due to approve Emergency Use Authorisation in the next two days.

The European Commission is also currently assessing the vaccine for use in member states.

How good is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can create an efficacy of 66% in one dose, meaning that the drugmaker is one of the most viable options for populations seeking to create immunity as fast as possible.

However, when it comes to the South African mutation, vaccine efficiency drops to 57%. The Brazilian mutation also creates a decrease in power, with a 66% result seen in trials conducted in Latin America.

The data was not complete enough to comment on the impact of a vaccine in “previously infected” individuals, but this will be an interesting point of development as mutations continue to arise and booster shots come into use.

Asthma was considered as a risk factor for death

Currently, it seems that the vaccine works well across ethnicity and comorbidities. The only group to see a significant decrease in efficiency are those over 60, with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease – at which point, the efficacy drops to 42.3% a month after the first dose.

This data also examined the death of an over-60 individual with asthma in the South African clinical trial. This person did not get the vaccine, as they were in the placebo group.

All seven deaths in the placebo group happened in South Africa.

The analysis explained: “All of these participants had one or more comorbidities which placed them at higher risk for severe COVID-19.”

The UK is recently facing backlash for removing people with asthma from priority vaccination groups.

‘We’re proud to have reached this critical milestone’

Alex Gorsky, Chairman, Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson, commented: “We’re proud to have reached this critical milestone and our commitment to address this global health crisis continues with urgency for everyone, everywhere.”

The mutations are eight times as infectious as the original virus that exited Wuhan, due to a spike protein that is much better at breaking down the defences of human cells.

The US Government in August 2020 gave more than than $1 billion to Johnson & Johnson for the production of 100 million doses, with the condition that the US is eligible to order an additional 200 million doses.


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