Specialists have been trying ahead to seeing outcomes from Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trials for months. The vaccine is a logistical dream in comparison with the opposite two approved within the US. It’s a lot simpler to retailer, and it requires just one shot as a substitute of the 2 required by its opponents. The one excellent query was how properly it really labored. On Friday, they obtained their reply — it really works fairly properly.

In a 43,783 individual trial that spanned the globe, the vaccine was 66 percent effective at stopping average to extreme COVID-19. Now, 66 % would possibly appear to be a let down in comparison with the 90-plus % efficacy from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. However that’s a matter of perspective. Earlier than outcomes of these vaccine trials got here out, researchers had been hoping for efficacies of between 60 and 70 percent. (By comparability, seasonal flu vaccines are given the thumbs up when they’re 40-60 percent effective.)

All that’s to say, the brand new vaccine candidate continues to be excellent at what it does, as many people have pointed out. That’s as a result of 66 % effectiveness is healthier than zero, which is the place a whole lot of us are working proper now.

Not solely that, however the vaccine was 85 % efficient at stopping probably the most extreme types of the illness. That’s fairly implausible.

Right here’s the not-so-fantastic factor. The explanation that the vaccine was ‘solely’ 66 % efficient within the trial is that it didn’t do as properly in South Africa, the place a worrying new variant is circulating extensively. Whereas the efficacy within the US was 72 %, the efficacy in South Africa was 57 %.

That’s nonetheless not unhealthy. But it surely does imply that there’s a clock ticking within the background as the corporate strikes to get the vaccine candidate approved. The variants are spreading shortly — one was first detected in the US this week. The earlier the world might be vaccinated, the higher the possibility all these vaccines might be at stopping the unfold of the virus.

“We’ve obtained to get the primary dose to as many individuals as doable,” virologist Akiko Iwasaki advised STAT. “These variants which might be extra transmissible and doubtlessly much more deadly are on the rise. I believe time is basically what we’re preventing in opposition to.”

Right here’s what else is occurring this week.


May I Borrow Your Covid Immunity?

Monoclonal antibody therapies are an essential pandemic-fighting instrument. Right here’s the within story of how researchers began work on the therapies. (Roxanne Khamsi/Wired)

Vaccinated People are Going to Hug Each Other

How do you have to behave after you get a vaccine? Warning and preventative measures are nonetheless warranted, however Julia Marcus makes the case for letting vaccinated individuals get just a little bit nearer to regular. (Julia Marcus/The Atlantic)

Undercounting of Covid-19 deaths is greatest in pro-Trump areas, analysis shows

Within the US, the official dying toll is 436,819. The precise dying toll is way increased — particularly in rural areas and counties that voted for former President Trump. (Olivia Goldhill/STAT)


Additional Covid-19 vaccines bring choices — and complications — to the rollout

Extra vaccines are nice, however better selection additionally means better logistical and moral complications over who will get what vaccine. Anticipate to see extra conversations and articles about how we’ll navigate a world with a number of vaccines as time goes on. (Andrew Johnson and Olivia Goldhill/Stat)

Testing sidelined as health departments focus on vaccination

Vaccination campaigns take a whole lot of assets, and in some instances, they’re assets that well being departments simply don’t have. Some are being pressured to decide on between testing and vaccination — they usually’re understandably selecting vaccines. (Nicole Wetsman/The Verge)

In order for you much more on vaccination assets, some implausible tales are out this week:

This is how America gets its vaccines

Take a deep dive into the tech methods behind the vaccine rollout within the US. (Cat Furguson and Karen Hao/MIT Know-how Evaluate)

Merck Shuts Down Covid Vaccine Program After Lackluster Data

Merck had two COVID-19 vaccine candidates in improvement, however early knowledge confirmed that neither one was particularly efficient. The pharma firm introduced its plans to close down analysis on the 2 candidates this week. (Riley Griffin/Bloomberg)

Moderna says it’s working on Covid booster shot for variant in South Africa, says current vaccine provides some protection

Moderna introduced this week that whereas its present vaccine does present some safety in opposition to rising variants, they’re nonetheless creating a booster shot for the B.1.351 pressure of the virus. (Berkeley Lovelace Jr/CNBC)

France’s Sanofi to make vaccines from rival Pfizer-BioNTech

Round 125 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine might be produced by rival drugmaker Sanofi. Manufacturing of the vaccines, supposed for the European Union, will begin this summer time in Frankfurt, Germany. Novartis announced a similar program on Friday. (AP)


Science is cumulative. It builds steadily towards progress, and that’s been my reply to despair throughout this final yr. I can look again over my life and see a level of development that’s staggering.

—Vaccinologist Stanley Plotkin, as told to Eli Saslow, The Washington Post

“We had one particular person who was so blissful, he took his shirt off and jumped out of the automotive,”

Michael Weber, the general public well being director in Josephine County, Oregon tells The New York Times about an impromptu effort to make use of up rapidly-expiring doses throughout a site visitors jam.

Greater than numbers

To the greater than 102,167,789 individuals worldwide who’ve examined constructive, might your street to restoration be clean.

To the households and associates of the two,209,213 individuals who have died worldwide — 436,819 of these within the US — your family members will not be forgotten.

Keep protected, everybody

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