The UK will become the first country to start final stage trials of a coronavirus vaccine developed by pharma company Janssen. The trial will take 12 months to complete and researchers from the company will begin recruiting around 6,000 volunteers in Britain on November 16.
The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies trial, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is the latest study to test the viability of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK and is jointly funded by the UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce. It is the third study currently active in the country with the other two being from US biotech company Novavax and the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca.
The vaccine will use a common cold virus to introduce a coronavirus spike protein into the body via an injection, after which the human body will mount an immune response and hopefully create the antibodies needed to combat the real thing. The intermediary virus will be totally harmless.
According to experts, it is possible that no single vaccine is suited to everyone. Therefore, many different vaccines are required to make sure everyone in the UK, as well as across the globe, can get a vaccine which will be effective on them. To that end, the UK government has chosen 6 potential vaccines and has stockpiled over 350 million doses, of which 30 million are of the Janssen vaccine.
The phase 3 clinical trials will initially take place in the UK with 6,000 people at 17 different sites across the country. Overall, Janssen’s phase 3 clinical trials will include 30,000 people from 6 countries around the world. Recruitment has started and will end by March 2021, after which it another 12 months will be needed to complete the trials.