Johnson & Johnson: Vaccine Tests To Begin in September

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Posted: Mar 30, 2020 12:15 PM
Johnson & Johnson: Vaccine Tests To Begin in September

Source: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Wuhan Coronavirus continues to deliver its punishment to the nation, as more cases and deaths are reported. Maryland issued a stay-at-home order today, barring anyone from leaving their home except for essential trips like grocery store trips or for medical assistance. Wuhan cases have soared to 142,o00 in the United States, with over 2,000 deaths reported from the disease. Over half of these cases come from in New York City. It’s an odd disease in which a lot of the population can have either mild symptoms or be asymptomatic but could spread it to someone who could die from it, like the elderly or the immunocompromised. 

And young people can still get gravely ill and possible die from the Wuhan virus—many have already. But there are two bits of good news. One is that this disease is expected to have a high recovery rate. The other is that we should have vaccine tests. Now, the bad news is that trials from Johnson & Johnson won’t be ready until September (via Reuters):

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) plans to start human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by September and make it ready for emergency use in early 2021, the drugmaker said on Monday.

J&J also committed more than $1 billion of investment along with U.S. agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to co-fund vaccine research, expanding a previous collaboration.

The hope is that the hydroxychloroquine regiment serves as a stopgap for this vaccine. It’s an anti-malarial drug that’s said to be effective in against the Wuhan virus (via WSJ):

Physicians are using two drugs in combination—hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, which I’ll abbreviate HC and AZ—to treat patients with advanced Covid-19 symptoms. We use a regimen reported in a recent open-label trial in Marseille, France, which was updated March 26, and which doctors may modify in any given case.

[…]

For HC, two bodies of evidence support its potential in treating Covid-19: in vitro (test tube) studies and initial clinical reports from the field. After the 2002-03 global outbreak of SARS, a coronavirus related to the one that causes Covid-19, an in vitro study conducted by doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified chloroquine (a relative of HC) as an attractive option for prevention and treatment. If added before the virus was introduced, the drug was highly effective in preventing cellular infection. Even later application markedly inhibited infection. Another contemporaneous study showed similar results.

Let’s pray something regarding treatment is approved soon.