On Thursday, Johnson & Johnson asked U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine.
If regulators approve, the vaccine will become the third available vaccine in the U.S. within weeks, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Last week, results from an international trial revealed that a single shot of J&J’s vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe COVID-19 disease. In the U.S., it was 72% effective at preventing the novel disease.
The potential third vaccine could assist the U.S. in jumpstarting the mass-vaccination campaign that has struggled since its start in December.
Initially, Moderna Inc. and Pfizer released limited supplies of the vaccine, and there have been many issues regarding additional distribution since.
J&J’s vaccine could help the country by adding to the supply and by simplifying the vaccination process—only one dose is needed. Moderna and Pfizer require two doses, and neither vaccine has the longevity as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. According to the outlet, the third potential vaccine can be kept at higher refrigerated temperatures for longer periods.
J&J, a New Brunswick, NJ company, expects to have millions of doses available immediately if regulators authorize its release. The company also expects to make more than one billion doses in 2021.
A spokesperson for the company said the U.S. purchased 100 million doses and plans on supplying them by midyear.
“Upon authorization of our investigational COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, we are ready to begin shipping,” said Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, in a statement. “We are working with great urgency to make our investigational vaccine available to the public as quickly as possible.”
The Food and Drug Administration will review the company’s submission and use its expert panel, the Vaccines, and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, to publicly discuss data. The authorization of the vaccine’s release could come within weeks, Politico reports.