Coronavirus

Johnson & Johnson has selected a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020, to develop the first batch of a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization in early 2021.

Johnson & Johnson, an American multinational corporation that develops medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods since January 2020, was working in the significant expansion of the existing partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

It was also working on the rapid scaling of the Company’s manufacturing capacity with the goal of providing global supply of more than one billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A statement signed by Ouma Onyango, Programme Assistant, Global Health Strategies, Nairobi and copied to the Ghana News Agency said through a landmark new partnership, BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson had committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing.

Johnson & Johnson would use its validated vaccine platform, while allocating resources, including; personnel and infrastructure globally to focus on the efforts.

Separately, BARDA and the Company have provided additional funding that would enable expansion of their on-going work to identify potential antiviral treatments against the novel coronavirus, the statement said.

As part of its commitment, the company was also expanding its global manufacturing capacity, through the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in other countries.

It plans to begin production at risk and was committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use, the statement said.

Mr Alex Gorsky, the Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson, according to the statement said: “The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to making a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible.

“As the world’s largest healthcare company, we feel a deep responsibility to improve the health of people around the world every day. Johnson & Johnson is well positioned through our combination of scientific expertise, operational scale and financial strength to bring our resources in collaboration with others to accelerate the fight against this pandemic.”

Mr Paul Stoffels, the Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson was quoted as saying: “We greatly value the U.S.
government’s confidence and support for our R&D efforts. Johnson & Johnson’s global team of experts has ramped up our research and development processes to unprecedented levels, and our teams are working tirelessly alongside BARDA, scientific partners, and global health authorities.

“We are pleased to have identified a lead vaccine candidate from the constructs we have been working on since January. We are moving on an accelerated timeline toward Phase one human clinical trials latest by September 2020 and, supported by the global production capability that we are scaling up in parallel to this testing. We expect a vaccine could be ready for emergency use in early 2021.”

Johnson & Johnson began efforts in January 2020, as soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) sequence became available, to research potential vaccine candidates.

Through collaborations with scientists at multiple academic institutions, the vaccine constructs were then tested to identify those with the most promise in producing an immune response in preclinical testing.

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