Johnson & Johnson to begin human trial for COVID-19 vaccine candidate in September

Johnson & Johnson announced Monday that the company has selected a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The candidate is from constructs that the company has been working on since January of this year, according to a press release.

The global pharmaceutics and medical supplies company said that its goal is to provide more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine. Human trials for the vaccine would begin by September 2020 at the latest and be available for early use authorization in early 2021, according to the press release.

“Through a landmark new partnership, BARDA [Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority], which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson together have committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing. Johnson & Johnson will use its validated vaccine platform and is allocating resources, including personnel and infrastructure globally, as needed, to focus on these efforts,” the company said in the press release.

As of yet, there is no current vaccine to prevent contraction of the novel coronavirus, and there is no approved treatment for the condition.

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The testing process for COVID-19 is still haphazard. There is a shortage of tests available, with public health officials only urging those who are showing symptoms to get tested. The guidelines for who is able to get tested have also been criticized and categorized by many as confusing.

Johnson & Johnson’s announcement follows news from earlier in March, when the National Institutes of Health announced a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine had began in Seattle.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.