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Johnson & Johnson expects coronavirus vaccine trial results by January

Johnson & Johnson expects to have the results from a Phase 3 clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine by January, the company’s chief scientist said on Tuesday. Speaking at a media briefing with other vaccine manufacturers hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), Paul Stoffels said the results are expected earlier than initially planned.

“We might have results sooner than expected — but we target results for the month of January both for safety and efficacy,” Stoffels said.

His projection on Tuesday came as the world saw the first person inoculated with Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine after the U.K granted it emergency approval last week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration signaled in documents published ahead of its Dec. 10 meeting on the vaccine that it meets emergency use approval requirements.

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Pfizer’s is a two-dose jab given 21 days apart whereas Johnson & Johnson’s candidate is a single shot.

Speaking during the briefing on Tuesday, Stoffels said the company has put forth a Herculean effort in regard to manufacturing and production, including the construction of several new vaccine-specific plants.

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“It was very important – and it’s the same almost for all the vaccines – that at the same time it’s a new technology as well as a new vaccine – it’s an enormous complicated work to make sure that while you do the upscaling and manufacturing, at the same time you do the quality work and you do the clinical research and development as well as the regulatory work.”

And as health regulators around the world brainstorm how to combat vaccine hesitancy, Stoffels repeated that neither Johnson & Johnson nor the other companies putting forth potential candidates cut corners during the development or trial process.

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“It’s a huge amount of work compacted in a short term, with extreme supervision from the regulators,” he said. “[It] was very transparent but also very fast. Regulatory answer comes within 24 hours for this vaccine – that cuts a lot of time.”

Stoffels had previously estimated that the company would see results from the late-stage Phase 3 trial by February.