Johnson & Johnson announce that they have a possible candidate Covid-19 Vaccine

Johnson and Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, located at the National Technology Park, Plassey, the Irish hub for the company which has announced that it now has a possible Covid-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson announce that they have a possible candidate Covid-19 Vaccine

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Mary Doyle

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson, has announced that they have a possible vaccine for the Covid-19 virus, as they spend more than $1 Billion on research and development.

Johnson & Johnson have an operation in Limerick. Vision Care, based at the National Technology Park in Plassey, manufactures disposable contact lenses, employing over 900 people, and producing over seven billion lenses annually.

Johnson & Johnson has now announced the selection of a candidate for the treatment of the Covid-19 condition, from a number of constructs that it has been working on since January 2020, when the virus initially broke out and began to spread.

Since the novel coronavirus sequence became available in January, the company have conducted a host of research. Through collaboration with scientists at several academic institutions, vaccine constructs were tested to identify candidates with the most potential to produce an immune response in preclinical testing. Based on this work, the company has identified a lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate, as well as two back-ups, which will soon progress into the first stages of manufacturing.

Johnson & Johnson say that they now have the goal of providing a global supply of more than one billion doses of a vaccine, as they expect to initiate human clinical tests of the candidate by this September at the latest. The first batches of the vaccine are hoped to be ready and available for emergency use by early 2021, which poses a much more immediate process than would usually be enforced for the development of a vaccine of this nature.

As a result of the pressing demand for a vaccine, Johnson & Johnson is also expanding its global manufacturing capacity. This will include the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in other countries.

The vaccine will be brought to the public for emergency pandemic use, at an affordable and not-for-profit rate. The company, together with the Department of Health and Human Services, have committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky, said, “The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible.”

He added, “As the world’s largest healthcare company, we feel a deep responsibility to improve the health of people around the world every day. Johnson & Johnson is well-positioned through our combination of scientific expertise, operational scale and financial strength to bring our resources in collaboration with others to accelerate the fight against this pandemic.”

Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson, said, “We greatly value the U.S. government’s confidence and support for our R&D efforts. Johnson & Johnson’s global team of experts has ramped up our research and development processes to unprecedented levels, and our teams are working tirelessly alongside BARDA, scientific partners, and global health authorities.”

“We are very pleased to have identified a lead vaccine candidate from the constructs we have been working on since January. We are moving on an accelerated timeline toward Phase 1 human clinical trials at the latest by September 2020 and, supported by the global production capability that we are scaling up in parallel to this testing, we expect a vaccine could be ready for emergency use in early 2021,” he added.

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