Johnsons & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) possible coronavirus vaccine, currently being tested, has prevented serious diseases in a limited group of Syrian golden hamsters, according to the company. The multinational corporation’s researchers revealed that the hamsters had been given a dose of the vaccination and were then exposed to the COVID-19 virus four weeks later.
Chief Scientific Officer, Paul Stoffels said that the current Phase three trials of the COVID-19 vaccine will commence this month.
“This pre-clinical study further validates our confidence in our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate,” Stoffels said in regards to the animal testing results.
The company said that the vaccine had evoked neutralizing antibodies, which according to researchers are a key factor in gaining immunity to the virus, within the hamsters that were given the vaccine. Additionally, the vaccinated animals did not lose as much weight compared to the unvaccinated hamsters and did not suffer from other clinical diseases like pneumonia or death.
Stoffels continued: “With our Phase 3 trials planned to start this month, we remain committed to expanding our manufacturing and distribution capabilities to enable global access to our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate should it prove to be safe and effective in humans.”
However the positive results in hamsters by no means guarantee the effectiveness of the vaccine in humans. Nevertheless, J&J researchers pointed out that the information was critical as COVID-19 has been shown to develop severe diseases in various humans.
According to the company, it anticipates to commence a late-stage trial, on 60,000 people, to test the vaccine at some point this month.