Johnson & Johnson on Thursday kicked off U.S. human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.
When exposed to the virus, six out of six animals who got the vaccine candidate were completely protected from lung disease and five out of six were protected from infection as measured by the presence of virus in nasal swabs, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
“This gives us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and learn whether it has a protective effect in humans,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The drugmaker said it had started early-stage human trials in the United States and Belgium and would test its vaccine candidate in more than 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 years and older.
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