- Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is ramping up its capacity for producing 1 billion doses of an experimental lead vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2
Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is ramping up its capacity for producing 1 billion doses of an experimental lead vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2, known as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). However, the vaccine will not be ready for human trials until September.
To make this happen, J&J had announced a $1 billion deal with the government for making over 1 billion doses of a vaccine.
This is an ambitious project as the company is going to be mass-producing the vaccine before it has evidence that it works. Generally, pharmaceutical companies wait for positive results from clinical trials before mass production. However, these are extenuating circumstances since the coronavirus has spread rapidly on a global scale. And the FDA has been flexible in fast-tracking the approval of attempts to combat COVID-19.
For example, the FDA granted its first emergency use authorizations for products to treat COVID-19 patients. And the FDA also authorized older malaria drugs.
The U.S. government also signed a deal with Moderna — which started early tests of its vaccine candidate in humans this month. And Moderna also signed a deal with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
J&J’s efforts are going to be funded partially by about $420 million from BARDA. BARDA is expected to support about 5 or 6 experimental vaccine candidates with the goal of having around 2 or 3 successful vaccines said BARDA Director Rick Bright in a phone interview with Reuters. Bright pointed out that the government and industry are “working in unprecedented ways.”
And the goal is to work as quickly as possible for the U.S. and the rest of the world in a “very short timeframe.”