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FDA authorizes one-dose COVID-19 vaccine

The Meals and Drug Administration has authorized the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which solely wants one dose and will be saved in common fridges. It’s the third COVID-19 vaccine to get sign-off from the company.

The vaccine will be administered to folks 18 years and older. It protects towards critical illness, and medical trials didn’t flag any harmful security issues. In the US, it was 72 % efficient towards extreme and milder COVID-19. It was barely much less efficient in South Africa, the place a variant type of the coronavirus is widespread. Early knowledge additionally prompt that the shot may forestall asymptomatic infections, however researchers want extra knowledge earlier than they will say that for certain.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is logistically simpler to distribute than the Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines, which take two doses and need to be saved in specialised freezers. As a result of it solely takes one shot and doesn’t must be frozen, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be simpler to distribute to areas with out that sort of kit. Folks additionally don’t have to come back again for a second appointment. New York Metropolis officers hope to make use of this vaccine for homebound seniors as a result of it will probably extra be simply introduced door to door.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was constructed utilizing a special know-how than the Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines. These two are gene-based vaccines, a technique that straight delivers the genetic materials for a little bit of the coronavirus into the physique. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, alternatively, inserts a piece of the coronavirus’ gene into one other innocent virus. That virus, known as an adenovirus, delivers the coronavirus gene to cells in order that the physique can be taught to acknowledge it.

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It’s onerous to straight examine COVID-19 vaccines as a result of no medical trials have studied them head-to-head. The Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines have greater efficacy on paper. Medical trials discovered that they had been round 95 % protecting towards symptomatic COVID-19. However these vaccines had been examined at totally different instances and in numerous international locations. The Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech trials had been examined within the US and different international locations earlier than variants appeared. The trials additionally use totally different definitions for what counts as gentle, average, or extreme illness.

By one necessary measure, the vaccines are all fairly comparable: the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was simply pretty much as good as the opposite two at defending folks from being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.

“What you care about is hospitalizations and deaths,” stated Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown College Faculty of Public Well being, in an interview with NPR. “And Johnson & Johnson seems to be simply pretty much as good as Moderna and Pfizer at stopping these.”

Johnson & Johnson has round 4 million doses, sufficient for 4 million folks, able to ship within the US. That’s fewer than anticipated; the corporate initially stated it might have 12 million prepared by the tip of February. Manufacturing delays undercut that plan. The corporate says it’ll nonetheless be capable to present 20 million doses to the US by the tip of March and 100 million by the tip of June.

Over 48 million folks in the US have already obtained a minimum of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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