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Australia How the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is different from others

04:43  01 march  2021
04:43  01 march  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The United States now has a third regulator-approved coronavirus vaccine.

The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) cleared the vaccine produced by medical giant Johnson & Johnson.

However, this vaccine is different from the others approved in the US.

It has provided optimism that swathes of the world could be vaccinated from COVID-19 much quicker than first thought.

Johnson & Johnson have a vaccine that requires a single-dose

Johnson & Johnson have achieved something different to most other vaccine candidates — they have developed a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Most other vaccines administered around the world, including in Australia, require two doses of the vaccine.

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The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, currently being administered in Australia, requires a person to receive two shots, 21-days apart.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, approved for use in Australia on February 16, allows for a longer timeframe between the two shots.

The Australian Government's Department of Health website states the second dose of the vaccine can be given anywhere between four and 12 weeks after the first shot is administered.

Other vaccines which require two doses include the Novavax — which the Australian Government has contracted to purchase 51 million doses pending approval — the Moderna vaccine, Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.

However, Johnson and Johnson are not the only company to be developing a single-dose vaccine.

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The CanSino Biologics vaccine developed in China also has a single-dose shot.

How does Johnson & Johnson compare with the other single-dose vaccine

The American company has shown results which have proven to be more effective than its Chinese counterpart.

The USFDA said Johnson & Johnson's vaccine offers strong protection against serious illness, hospitalisations and death.

One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents.

Protection remained strong in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.

Meanwhile, the Chinese single-shot vaccine falls well below that mark according to initial data.

CanSino Biologics said its vaccine was 68.83 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease two weeks after a single-dose vaccination, citing interim data, while the rate fell to 65.28 per cent four weeks after one shot.

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However, reports from a trial of the vaccine in Pakistan, and other countries, showed promising results in preventing serious coronavirus infections.

Faisal Sultan, Pakistan's Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, said the CanSino Biologics was 90.98 per cent effective in preventing serious infections.

How does it compare with the two-dose vaccines?

While current data shows the two-dose vaccine can be more effective against milder symptoms of COVID-19, the Johnson & Johnson trial could be a better indicator of the current climate.

In the US, the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots were 95 per cent protective against symptomatic COVID-19.

Johnson & Johnson's one-dose effectiveness of 85 per cent against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66 per cent when moderate cases were counted.

But it is hard to compare these stats because of differences in when and where each company conducted its studies.

Unlike the Johnson & Johnson studies, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna research finished before the South African and British variants began widely spreading.

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Warmer temperatures make the single-dose vaccines easier to store

Along with being a single-dose, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine also has another big advantage — it can be kept in warmer temperatures.

The difficulty of storing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became an issue in Victoria during the first week of the vaccine rollout in Australia.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at -70C, making it extremely difficult to transport and keep in storage.

The Moderna vaccine in the US also needs to be stored below zero at -20C.

However, the Johnson & Johnson can be stored in a regular fridge.

The single-dose vaccine can be kept in a fridge which is between 2-8C.

This puts the vaccine on par with other vaccines which can be stored at these temperatures, including the Sputnik V and the Oxford-AstraZeneca.

These advantages in transport and storage will make the vaccine potentially more accessible.

In the United States, Johnson & Johnson said it is aiming to distribute 20 million doses by the end of March, and 100 million by the middle of the year.

Is little hassle worth having a vaccine that is slightly less effective?

For now, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not of Australia's approval radar.

The federal government has signed three deals with developers, Johnson & Johnson is not one of them.

But with the virus continuing to evolve, the single-dose vaccine could be used in Australia at some point.

If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine does become an option, will it be worth taking over other vaccines?

Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, told The Associated Press results indicate there is no need to prefer one vaccine over another.

"What people I think are mostly interested in is, is it going to keep me from getting really sick?" Dr Collins said.

"Will it keep me from dying from this terrible disease?

"The good news is all of these say yes to that."

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Covid-19: here is what the authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States will change .
© Reuters The United States on Saturday granted an emergency authorization for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Covid-19 . In Europe, where the drug agency will issue its opinion in early March, the first doses could be available in a month. A third vaccine in the United States.

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This is interesting!