The third major alternative for a COVID-19 vaccine
, Johnson & Johnson, published its Phase 3 interim analysis data on Friday. The vaccine's name is ENSEMBLE.
ENSEMBLE, noted for being a single-dose vaccine, showed effectiveness in 72% of the 43,783 recipients who participated in the Phase 3 trials.
"Our goal all along has been to create a simple, effective solution for the largest number of people possible, and to have maximum impact to help end the pandemic,” said CEO Alex Gorsky.
Out of the participants, there were 468 symptomatic COVID-19 cases. These individuals were reviewed 14 to 28 days after getting injected.
"Don't let the perfect get in the way of the good enough," Kizzmekia Corbett, one of the vaccine developers for Moderna, tweeted on Friday, encouraged by the efficacy percentages of ENSEMBLE.
The data showed that, starting at the 14th day, and culminating a full 28 days after the vaccination, recipients were 66% protected against moderate to severe complications from COVID-19, so that even if one were to catch the virus within 28 days of receiving this vaccine, the effects would not be serious, 66% of the time.
The announcement notes that "The ENSEMBLE study results include efficacy against newly emerging strains of coronavirus, including some highly infectious variants present in the US, Latin America and South Africa."
The vaccine's efficacy rate dropped significantly from the United States, where it was at 72%, to 57% in South Africa, where a new variant was recently discovered, prompting global worry. Concerns over the South African strain’s spread contributed to the recent closure of Ben-Gurion Airport.
"The potential to significantly reduce the burden of a severe disease, by providing an effective and well-tolerated vaccine with just one immunization, is a critical component of the global public health response,” said Paul Stoffels, the chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson.
Additionally, Johnson & Johnson plans on filing for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), as previous vaccine candidates — Pfizer and Moderna
— have done.
The vaccine is, according to the data, 85% effective overall in preventing severe complications that could result in hospitalizations.
The company noted that they will follow up with the trial participants for "up to two years."