J&J Single-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine Granted Registration by SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
Author: Johnson & Johnson
The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J (the Company) today announced the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has granted registration with conditions for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18y and older.
Data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE study showed the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was well tolerated and demonstrated a 67 percent reduction in symptomatic COVID-19 disease in participants who received the vaccine in comparison to participants given the placebo. The onset of protection was observed from day 14 and was maintained 28 days post-vaccination. The data also demonstrated the vaccine was 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied and showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalisation and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination. In South Africa, the level of protection against moderate to severe COVID-19 infection was 57%, 28 days post-vaccination.
The growing presence of regional COVID-19 variants underscores the need to look at a pandemic response from a global perspective. In South Africa specifically, the emergent SARS-CoV-2 variant from the B.1.351 lineage has had a critically detrimental effect on the country’s healthcare system, beyond its impact in other parts of the world where it is now rapidly spreading.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 single-dose vaccine is compatible with standard vaccine storage and distribution channels enabling delivery to remote areas. The vaccine is estimated to remain stable for two years at -25°C to -15°C, and a maximum of three months of which can be at routine refrigeration at temperatures of 2°C -8°C. This enables the vaccine to be shipped using the same cold chain technologies used to transport other medicines and vaccines in routine use.
To meet its global commitments, Johnson & Johnson has established a global vaccine supply network where multiple manufacturing sites are involved in the production of the vaccine across different facilities, sometimes in different countries and continents, before the vaccine can be distributed globally. In South Africa, one of Aspen’s wholly-owned South African subsidiaries, Pharmacare Limited (which trades as “Aspen Pharmacare”), is performing formulation, filling, and secondary packaging of the vaccine for supply to Johnson & Johnson.
South Africa Phase 3b Study
The Company has partnered with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) on the investigator led collaborative Sisonke (TOGETHER) study, which commenced in February 2021. The ongoing study is an open label, single-arm Phase 3b vaccine implementation study of the investigational single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine among the country’s frontline healthcare workers. The purpose of the trial is to monitor the effectiveness of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths among healthcare workers as compared to the general unvaccinated population in South Africa. The study aims to enroll 300,000 participants who are health care workers in the public and private South African health care system, with the potential to go up to 500,000 participants.
The single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been granted Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization, Conditional Marketing Authorisation by the European Commission and Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It has also received an Interim Order authorization from Health Canada.
Commitment to Equitable Access
Equitable access is at the centre of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 response. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine and its compatibility with standard vaccine distribution channels align with WHO’s recommendations for medical interventions in a pandemic setting, which emphasize ease of distribution, administration, and compliance.
The Company is committed to ensuring global access to the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use. In September 2020, Johnson & Johnson joined other life sciences companies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in signing an unprecedented communiqué which outlined a steadfast commitment to facilitating equitable access to the innovations being developed to fight the pandemic. Additionally, the Company recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to make available up to 220 million doses of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to African Union’s 55 member states with delivery beginning in the third quarter of 2021.