Johnson and Johnson said Thursday it plans to begin its first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine next week, with a view to bringing the vaccine to market early next year. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company’s initial research aimed at recruiting more than 1,000 healthy adults will begin July 22 in Belgium and the following week in the United States.
Johnson and Johnson’s chief scientific officer, Paul Stoffels, said on a conference call with analysts Thursday that researchers will assess the vaccine’s safety and ability to induce an immune response. The company also plans to conduct research in more countries.
Clearer testing could take place as soon as September. Johnson and Johnson said it is still in discussions with the National Institutes of Health about a large Phase III clinical trial that could begin in late September that will test whether its vaccine protects people from 2019 coronavirus disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Dr Stoffels said Johnson and Johnson may have an answer before the end of the year as to whether the vaccine will be safe to prevent the new coronavirus. If successful, the company expects the vaccine to be available in early 2021, and Johnson and Johnson plans to produce up to 1 billion doses by the end of next year.