Promising ‘Monkey Data’ Moves COVID Vaccine Trials to Humans
Johnson & Johnson kicked off U.S. human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine Thursday after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.
When exposed to the virus, six out of six animals who got the vaccine candidate were completely protected from lung disease and five out of six were protected from infection as measured by the presence of virus in nasal swabs, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
“This gives us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and learn whether it has a protective effect in humans,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The drugmaker said it had started early-stage human trials in the United States and Belgium and would test its vaccine candidate in more than 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 years and older.
The U.S. government is backing J&J’s vaccine effort with $456 million in funding as part of a spending spree aimed at speeding production of a vaccine to end the pandemic, which has infected millions and killed more than 660,000 people.
We are still along way away from a COVID 19 vaccine, let alone implementing effectively across the world. But the monkey data is promising, even if it’s fucked up to inject animals with viruses in order to save humans.
On another note, thanks to all the humans who volunteered to be test subjects, you guys are heroes. I am one of the lucky ones who is more likely to die of boredom than of COVID during shelter in place, but writing something with the words ‘monkey data’ in it, gave this writer a much needed smile.
Stay safe out there, wear a mask.