US approves Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: What are the advantages of the vaccine?

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine’s efficacy rate came out to be 72% in the clinical trial site in the US.

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine: Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccination against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has been approved by the US for emergency use. This means that in the coming week, the rollout of millions of doses of the vaccine would begin to reach the citizens of the US. The announcement came when millions of citizens were placed in the waiting list for vaccine shots in the country and when the steep decline in cases in the country stopped and reached a stage of no change, according to a report by NYT. Till Sunday night in India, the US had about 2.85 crore confirmed cases of the virus, while it had recorded 5.12 lakh deaths, as per the database of the John Hopkins University.

The vaccine became the third one to be authorised in the US, and Johnson & Johnson has pledged that it would provide the US with 10 crore doses by June-end. This, along with the cumulative 60 crore doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that are scheduled to arrive by the end of July, would be enough to cover all the American adults who wish to get vaccinated, the report said.

However, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine’s efficacy rate came out to be 72% in the clinical trial site in the US, which has people concerned, considering the fact that the efficacy rates of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were around 95%. But the US government’s top expert on infectious disease Dr Anthony S Fauci has told people to not be concerned over this needlessly.

The report quoted him as saying that the vaccine was really good and people did not need to get caught up in the number game. Adding that the country needed as many as good vaccines as were possible, he asked people to focus on the fact that the US now had three effective vaccines.

The J&J vaccine is based on the genetic instructions of the novel coronavirus for the building of the spike protein, which aids it in entering the cells of humans. What separates the vaccine from those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, however, is the fact that while the latter two store these instructions in single-stranded RNA, the one developed by Johnson & Johnson makes use of a double-stranded DNA.

J&J’s vaccine is also adenovirus-based, and not mRNA type, as developed by Pfizer and Moderna. While adenovirus has a tough protein coat, the DNA is more robust than the RNA, and these two factors together help protect the genetic material. Consequently, the J&J COVID-19 can be stored for three months in storage conditions between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

Not only that, but J&J vaccine is also a single-dose vaccine, as opposed to all other major vaccines having been approved, including Moderna, Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca (or Covishield in India) and even India’s indigenous Covaxin, which require two doses.

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