Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate for COVID-19 has shown efficacy in a small group of Syrian golden hamsters

pharmafile | September 4, 2020 | News story | Medical Communications COVID-19, J&J, JJ 

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate for COVID-19 has shown efficacy in a small group of Syrian golden hamsters.

The researchers vaccinated the hamsters and then exposed them to the virus a month later. The study was published in [Nature] and concluded: “Our results indicate that the golden hamster is a suitable experimental animal model for investigating infections with SARS-CoV-2, as there is apparent weight loss in the inoculated and naturally infected hamsters and evidence of efficient viral replication in the nasal mucosa and epithelial cells of the lower respiratory system. 

“Inoculated and naturally infected hamsters showed apparent weight loss on days 6–7 post-inoculation or post-contact; all hamsters returned to their original weight within 14 days and developed neutralizing antibodies. Our results suggest that features associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in golden hamsters resemble those found in humans with mild SARS-CoV-2 infections.”

These types of hamsters were chosen because they are more susceptible to contracting diseases than monkeys.

J&J put out a press release on the results of the trial, with Paul Stoffels, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer, saying: “This preclinical study further validates our confidence in our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate.With our Phase 3 trials planned to start this month, we remain committed to expanding our manufacturing and distribution capabilities to enable global access to our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate should it prove to be safe and effective in humans.”

The company is also set to begin trials in humans, with the more advanced stages aiming to involve around 60,000 participants. These Phase 3 are planned to begin in the second half of this month.

At the start of August, the US government signed a $1 billion deal with J&J, which guaranteed 100 million doses of their vaccine with the option to acquire enough to cover the whole populace of the US. 

Conor Kavanagh

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