Even as Covid has cast a dark shadow over the world for much of the last year and continues to be the cause of worry for all, with little respite from bad news about the virus, Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, holds out hope of an effective vaccine, bestlifeonline.com reported.
In a 29th January press briefing with Rochelle Walensky, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fauci announced that there were promising results from two new vaccine trial results.
Fauci Hopeful Over Very Encouraging Trial Results Of New Covid Vaccines
He added one was the soluble protein platform in a study from the UK from Novax, while the other one was the Janssen or Johnson & Johnson adeno-26 trial that was conducted in the United States, Brazil, and South Africa. He added that the results were really very encouraging.
While Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine came in a single shot as against the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available in the US, it meant its full dosage can be administered quicker than those of its competitors.
The competing vaccine required a few weeks between the shots. He added that while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s efficacy was not comparable to those already approved for use in the country, Fauci added it was still highly effective.
Fauci went on to explain that in the Johnson & Johnson trials, the overall efficacy of the vaccine in the study was 66%, but for the US, it was 72%.
Meanwhile, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines’ efficacy was between 95 and 95% efficacy against symptomatic COVID.
He said the first thing that people did was compare a 72% efficacy with the previously reported trials of 94 to 95%; that was true, he said, adding it was only part of the picture.
He added that, despite the comparatively low efficacy as compared with Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s stats against severe COVID were nothing to sneeze at.
He added that when one looked at the potential impact on a very important aspect, namely severe disease, in the United States, in South Africa and in Brazil, the overall efficacy for the severe disease was 8%.
While Fauci had earlier talked about the importance of resuming in-person instruction for children, he admitted that it would be quite some time before a pediatric COVID vaccine was approved.
He said, hopefully by the time it was late spring and early summer, we would have children being vaccinated according to the FDA’s guidance. He added that clinical trials for pediatric COVID vaccines would begin over the next couple of months.
Meanwhile, infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., told CNN on 29th January that he assessed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be as effective as those from Moderna and Pfizer. He added that these were, in his mind, almost equivalent vaccines.
He added that the Johnson & Johnson trial results only indicated a short-term immune response to the vaccine.
He explained that the response could grow stronger with time. He said protection got better the farther one got out from the vaccination.
Another plus for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was that it came in a single dose, unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
More people could be fully vaccinated with the single-dose sooner than would be possible with two-dose vaccines, which required three to four weeks between the shots.
Further, unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did not need to be kept at ultra-low temperatures to ensure safety.