It is the fourth vaccine against the new coronavirus approved in the European Union: it is the vaccine of the American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, created by its Belgian subsidiary Janssen. A clear advantage of the vaccine over the previous ones is that it only takes one injection to achieve immunization.
South Africa became the first country in the world to allow the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on February 17. In the United States, the vaccine received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ten days later. It is also approved in Canada since the beginning of March.
What type of vaccine is the Johnson & Johnson preparation?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a vector vaccine that, like Sputnik V or the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford / Astra-Zeneca, is based on a modified, attenuated adenovirus. (AstraZeneca’s uses a chimpanzee adenovirus, Sputnik V a human one).
Like its sisters (or rivals), adenovirus “carries”, or carries, genetic information for the “S” glycoprotein, which the coronavirus uses to infect human cells.
These are reproduced by cells and activate the human immune system, which can then produce antibodies (against the coronavirus).
The Janssen vaccine uses DNA instead of RNA like the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. This genetic “message” is less fragile so its conservation is less complicated.
Which ones are your ingredientes?
In addition to the genetically modified adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26), the vaccine contains the following ingredients, according to the FDA:
Citric acid monohydrate: citric acid, a fruit acid that contains one molecule of water per molecule
2-Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD): a polymer based on glucose molecules that increases solubility
Polysorbate-8: A fat dissolving additive also found in Astra-Zeneca vaccine
Sodium chloride: table salt
Safety and side effects
Phase III clinical trials tested the vaccine in 40,000 adults in several countries, including the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa. The vaccine provided 85% protection against severe forms of the disease and up to 66% protection against moderate to severe forms. This variability also varies from country to country. In South Africa, for example, only 67% protection was demonstrated, compared to 72% in the United States. This observation is explained by the fact that at the time of testing, the South African variant of the disease (B 1,352) already accounted for the majority of cases.
The efficacy of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which reportedly exceeds 90%, should be viewed with caution, as clinical trials of these vaccines took place when viral variants were barely circulating.
As with most other COVID-19 vaccines, injection site pain, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches were the most common side effects. In one case, a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, was observed, similar to that which occurred in very rare cases with the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
The vaccine offers several logistical advantages. It only requires one injection for complete immune protection, unlike the Pfizer / BionTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, which are given in two doses several weeks apart. Therefore, the doses received can be administered immediately, regardless of subsequent second vaccinations.
Plus, it can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures for up to 3 months, making it easy to deliver.