INDIANAPOLIS — The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine can be 72% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease in the United States, according to new data from its Phase 3 trial.
“It is a single dose, that’s exciting. You don’t have to plan to come back,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, VP of data and analytics at the Regenstrief Institute.
Experts believe that will already be a game changer as many states are on the hunt for more doses. On the other hand, Johnson & Johnson’s efficacy rate is lower than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which both near 95% efficacy.
“They quoted some statistics across all of those, 66% effective in overall. In the United States, it was 72% effective,” said Dr. Grannis.
The trial involved 44,000 participants and was conducted across eight countries in three continents, but the efficacy differs. For example, in Latin America the vaccine is only 66% effective. In South Africa, it was 57%.
“The demand is huge not only in this country but outside. Since many of the trials for this vaccine was done outside of the U.S.,” said Purdue University Distinguished Professor of Virology Dr. Suresh Mittal, DWM Ph.D.
The demand for vaccines are high, even right here in Indiana. Dr. Mittal says this is the only way to continue moving forward.
“This vaccine will add to that scenario that how sooner we can achieve herd immunity,” said Dr. Mittal.
Right now, Janssen Pharmaceuticals is working to see if a second dose of the vaccine will improve the efficacy.
“Likely that will improve efficacy, but I think we need to wait and see. That’s why we conduct the experiments because sometimes with science you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Dr. Grannis.
Johnson & Johnson plans to file for emergency use authorization by the end of the week. If approved, the United States is prepared to buy 100 million doses by June.