A single-shot vaccine developed by the healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is 85% effective in preventing the most serious coronavirus symptoms, according to data from mass trials.
The company said its latest tests – carried out in several countries – also showed it was 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, 28 days after vaccination.
It comes as another coronavirus vaccine from Novavax could get the all-clear from UK regulators.
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If approved, the Novavax jab, which trials suggest is 89% effective in preventing the virus, would start to be rolled out in the second half of 2021.
It would follow the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots.
However, unlike other COVID-19 jabs, which require two doses several weeks apart, J&J’s is administered in one injection.
As well as being one shot, it also only needs to be kept at fridge temperature, making its storage, distribution and handling much easier.
And costing as little as $10 (£7) a dose, it is cheaper than most of the other vaccines – coming in at about the same as two shots of the Oxford/AstraZeneca option.
The interim data for the J&J jab will be submitted to regulators and trials will continue – with information being fed back as part of a rolling review.
The injection also worked across multiple variants of coronavirus, including the South African variant which has been worrying scientists, the firm said.
The UK has ordered 30 million doses of the vaccine, pending approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with the option of millions more.
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J&J’s chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels said: “These topline results with a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine candidate represent a promising moment.
“The potential to significantly reduce the burden of severe disease, by providing an effective and well-tolerated vaccine with just one immunisation, is a critical component of the global public health response.
“A one-shot vaccine is considered by the World Health Organisation to be the best option in pandemic settings, enhancing access, distribution and compliance.”
The 85% efficacy rate in preventing the most severe cases “will potentially protect hundreds of millions of people from serious and fatal outcomes of COVID-19,” he said.
He added: “It also offers the hope of helping ease the huge burden placed on healthcare systems and communities.”
Meanwhile, the EU regulators are expected to grant restricted approval for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been the focus of an increasingly bitter dispute in Brussels over supplies.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has insisted a contract between Brussels and AstraZeneca contained binding orders.
The contract between the EU and the pharmaceutical firm was published by the bloc on Friday, amid the escalating war of words.
Source : Sky News