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Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is 66% effective in global trial, but 85% effective against severe disease, company says

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 single-shot vaccine was shown to be 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe disease in a global Phase 3 trial, but 85% efficacy against severe disease, the company announced Friday. The vaccine was 72% effective against moderate and severe disease in the US, the company said.

It’s a striking difference from vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, and it may give pause to people uncertain about which vaccine to get or when they can get one. The vaccines already on the market in the US are about 95% effective overall against symptomatic Covid-19, with perhaps even higher efficacy against severe cases.

But experts say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will still be useful against the pandemic in the United States and around the world.”Among all participants from different geographies and including those infected with an emerging viral variant, Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 66% effective overall at preventing the combined endpoints of moderate and severe COVID-19, 28 days after vaccination. The onset of protection was observed as early as day 14,” the company said in a statement.

Janssen is Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine arm.

“The level of protection against moderate and severe COVID-19 infection was 72% in the US, 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa, 28 days post-vaccination.”

“We’re 85% effective at preventing severe disease, which we define as disease that makes you feel particularly sick at home, or may go to the hospital, or worse,” Dr. Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development at Johnson & Johnson, told reporters.

“And we are right now completely protective, it would appear 100% protective, against disease that actually does make you go to the hospital, we’re 100% protective against death.”

The company said the results held up across all age groups and people of various ethnicities.

Mammen said the company was working to file for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration “inside of a week.” It will be the third company to seek EUA from the FDA for a coronavirus vaccine. Vaccines made by Moderna and by Pfizer/BioNTech were authorized in December and are now being given to millions of Americans.

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