J&J vaccine effective against COVID-19 variant - Glenda Gray

Professor Glenda Gray said that over the next few days, a plan would be announced to expedite the rollout of the vaccine locally.

In this file photo taken on 17 November 2020 an illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP.

CAPE TOWN - It has emerged that Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine has shown 85% efficacy against severe or critical cases of COVID-19.

Just over 44,300 participants have been enrolled in the clinical trials carried out in the United States, here in South Africa and in Latin America.

One-third of the participants are over 60.

Professor Glenda Gray, the trial's joint lead investigator, said that this vaccine was effective in providing protection against the second variant, which was more infectious.

"You might say that what happened in South African was consistent across all countries and regions, including in South Africa where all the cases were due to the new variant and this is based on our sampling of available data and about 95% of the data we sampled has the B.1.351 variant."

Gray said that over the next few days, a plan will be announced to expedite the rollout of the vaccine locally.

"What we are proposing to do is to do an expansion with the study because we are waiting for the vaccine to be approved in South Africa and during the study, rapidly in healthcare workers not only helps healthcare workers prevent getting the disease and hospitalisation, it helps us to understand the vaccine as we roll it out in South Africa."

On Sunday night, government announced that the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine had been put on hold after data showed that it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the dominant variant.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that government would wait for advice from scientists on how best to proceed.

WATCH: SA's AstraZeneca vaccine rollout on hold; J&J vaccine effective against variant

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