Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has entered the final stages of testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in an international study that will enroll over 60,000 subjects across 215 sites in the US and other countries.

Johns and Johnson starts third phase COVID-19 trial

The company that is among the US government’s drugmakers under the Operation Warp Speed program is the latest to enter late-stage coronavirus vaccine testing. Other pharmaceutical companies that have entered late-stage trials include AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), Moderna (NYSE:MRNA), and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE). National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci said four coronavirus vaccine candidates are currently in the third phase clinical trials, barely eight months since the virus was identified. He said that the J&J vaccine holds potential as early tests have indicated that it could be useful in controlling the virus.

Johnson & Johnson indicated that its COVID-19 vaccine has been developed using the same tech employed in developing the Ebola vaccine. It combines the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 with a modified adenovirus that causes the common cold. The experimental vaccines will be tested in the Phase 3 study to determine its safety and efficacy. According to Paul Stoffels, the company’s chief scientific officer, there might be adequate data to provide results by the end of this year, with JNJ planning to produce up to 1 billion doses in 2021.

J&J vaccine offers several logistical advantages

Although the company is yet to release data from its early trials, Stoffels confirmed that the vaccine’s immune response in people was the same as in animal models. Also, the symptoms such as fever were able to clear within two days. If the trials are successful and the vaccine is approved, it will have many advantages since it will be easier to administer and distribute.

Johnson & Johnson is testing the vaccine in a single dose, which is safe and effective and will have huge logistical advantages. Although it will be shipped frozen, the vaccine can stay in the refrigerator in liquid form for up to three months.