In the latest development, Janssen Vaccines & Prevention in Leiden, a subsidiary of American pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson has started testing the potential coronavirus vaccine on humans in the US and Belgium.
Testing in the Netherlands
In a television programme Nieuwsuur, research leader Hanneke Schuitemaker said if everything goes well according to the plan, the testing will be expanded to the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain in September. ‘In September we will look at giving less of the vaccine and if the interval can be made shorter.’ The ongoing testing involves giving participants two vaccinations, eight weeks apart.
Safety and side effects
The main aim is to test whether the vaccine is safe and what the possible side effects are. Johan van Hoof, head of Janssen’s vaccine program said to Flemish broadcaster VRT. “We hope to start that phase in September. Then a lot more people will be recruited and then we’ll see if the vaccine protects against the virus, or prevents a serious illness caused by the virus.”
As per the company, if the plan goes well, the vaccine could be ready by the first half of 2021. Right now, four pharmaceutical companies are in phase three testing of a potential coronavirus vaccine. Janssen expects to enter phase 3 in October.
Ordered 3 million vaccines
“Only when we are at the finish line and know which vaccines work will pharmaceuticals have a hard time marketing their product. Nine out of 10 vaccines fail in the final phase of development, so it is not a done deal,’ Schuitemaker said.
Notably, the Dutch government along with three other European countries ordered 3 million vaccines from AstraZeneca. A couple of months back, Johnson & Johnson and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) together committed more than $1 billion to novel coronavirus vaccine research and development.
Main image credits: angellodeco/Shutterstock