Janssen COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in PH to check for long-term efficacy — DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2021 03:09 PM

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MANILA — While Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine has already gotten approval in the United States, it will continue its clinical trial in the Philippines to check for long-term efficacy, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

“Yun pong Janssen ang kanilang sinasabi ang gagawin nilang clinical trial dito ay for 2 doses,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, referring to Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical company Janssen.

(The clinical trial of Janssen here in the country is for 2 doses.)

Janssen was the first to be approved for COVID-19 clinical trials in the country, and the testing started last month.

“Baka maging mas mataas ang efficacy nila o baka mas tumagal ang kanilang efficacy. So yun ang tinitignan ng ating manufacturers,” Vergeire added.

(The efficacy might be higher or it might last longer. So that’s what the manufacturers are looking at.)

Vergeire cited a statement from the company saying that “while a potentially safe and effective single dose preventive COVID-19 vaccine would have significant benefits particularly in a pandemic setting, Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine program has been designed to be extremely thorough and driven by science.”

“As such we are investigating multiple doses and dosing regimens to evaluate their long term efficacy,” the company said.

The Janssen vaccine uses an adenovirus to carry the COVID-19 gene into the body in order to trigger an immune response.

It is said to have an efficacy rate of 66% against moderate and severe COVID-19. It has a higher efficacy rate of 85% against severe cases.

The US is set to receive about 4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Tuesday. It will be the country’s 3rd vaccine option, after Pfizer and Moderna, which have efficacy rates of around 95%.

Currently, the Philippines only has doses from China’s Sinovac, which has an efficacy rate ranging from 65.3% to 91.2%. Its efficacy rate for health workers in Brazil is at a lower but acceptable 50.4%.

The Philippines has also issued emergency use authorizations for Pfizer and AstraZeneca. 

Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said Monday that they are hoping to receive an EUA application from Janssen after its approval in the US.