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European Medicines Agency set to approve Janssen's Covid-19 vaccine next week

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine. File photograph.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine. File photograph. / AGENCY
  • Spain expects to receive 21 million vials of the Johnson & Johnson formula, which is a single-dose vaccine and much easier to store and distribute than the others on the market

The European Medicines Agency will decide on 11 March whether to authorise the distribution of the Janssen vaccine in the European Union.

If the EMA, as expected, approves this vaccine at the extraordinary meeting next Wednesday, it will be the fourth type to be distributed in Europe along with those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

Spain expects to have 21 million vials of this Johnson & Johnson vaccine, although the Ministry of Health does not have an exact date for the arrival of the doses from the subsidiary of the North American giant.

At the end of January, Janssen announced that their tests indicate that his formula, based on human adenovirus 26 technology, had "general efficacy" in preventing the disease in large-scale trials against multiple variants carried out on three continents.

In the tests, involving almost 44,000 volunteers, the level of protection against moderate and severe Covid-19 ranged from 72 per cent in the United States to 66 per cent in Latin America and only 57 per cent in South Africa, from where the new highly contagious strain has already spread.

The efficacy of this vaccine is well below its rivals but it has the advantage that it is a single-dose vaccine and that its storage and handling are very simple. It is reported that it can be stable for two years at -20 degrees centigrade and for at least three months in most standard refrigerators, unlike the other three vaccines that are already being distributed.