By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) – Johnson & & Johnson on Thursday began U.S. human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that revealed its best-performing vaccine prospect used strong defense in a single dose.
When exposed to the infection, six out of six animals who got the prospect vaccine were completely secured from lung illness and five out of 6 were secured from infection as measured by the presence of infection in nasal swabs, according to the research study published in the journal Nature.
” This offers us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and discover whether it has a protective result in human beings,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&Js primary scientific officer, informed Reuters in a telephone interview.
The U.S. government is backing J&Js vaccine effort with $456 million in funding as part of a spending spree targeted at speeding production of a vaccine to end the pandemic, which has actually infected millions and killed more than 660,000 people.
Stoffels said prior tests of this kind of vaccine in other diseases discovered that a second shot significantly increases protection. But in a pandemic a single-shot vaccine has a significant advantage, avoiding a great deal of the logistical problems associated with getting individuals to come back for their second dose.
The business plans to take up the concern of a couple of dosages in its stage 1 trial, which kicked off this week in the United States.
Depending on those outcomes, J&J prepares to start large-scale, stage 3 testing with a single-shot regimen in the 2nd half of September. Around the same time, the business will start a parallel stage 3 research study screening a two-shot program of the vaccine, Stoffels stated.
J&Js vaccine uses a common cold infection referred to as adnovirus type 26 or Ad26 to ferry coronavirus proteins into cells in the body, triggering the body to mount an immune defense versus the virus.
In the monkey study, researchers from J&J and Harvards Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center studied seven different prospective vaccines in 32 animals and compared the outcomes to 20 control animals who got placebo shots.
6 weeks later on, all of the animals were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. All 20 animals that got the placebo developed high levels of virus in their lungs and nasal swabs.
In the best-performing candidate, which J&J picked for human testing, none of the animals had virus in their lungs and only one showed low levels of infection in nasal swabs. Laboratory tests revealed they all had developed antibodies capapable of neutralizing the infection after a single shot.
” This research study shows that even just a single immunization with the Ad26 vaccine leads to neutralizing antibody responses and robust security of monkeys against COVID-19,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a vaccine researcher at Beth Isreal Deaconness who led the research in cooperation with J&J.
( Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; editing by Richard Pullin).