Johnson & Johnson announced on Friday that its coronavirus vaccine was 72 percent effective against the pathogen in the U.S., and the company will ask federal regulators for approval in February.
Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna candidates, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is administered in one shot. The vaccine uses a relatively new technology to deliver a coronavirus gene into the body by using a modified form of the common cold. The gene instructs bodily cells to make a protein similar to coronavirus, which wards off infection.
While the vaccine is not as effective as those of Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is still strong enough to give widespread protection from coronavirus. The company has the ability to ship millions of doses, and a February approval would add the vaccine to the tools currently being used to fight the pandemic.
While the vaccine’s efficacy rate was 72 percent in the U.S., that rate dropped to 57 percent in trials in South Africa, where a new variant of coronavirus is spreading. The variant, labeled B.1.351, has also been found to slightly reduce the efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Concern over the variant prompted the Biden administration to impose a travel ban from South Africa earlier this week.