Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A one-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson is safe and generates an immune response to block the novel coronavirus that causes the disease, according to results of an early-stage clinical trial.
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen has been working on the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine for months, which could ultimately join approved vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech for distribution in the United States.
Unlike the necessary two-shot regimen of the other two vaccines, Johnson & Johnson's requires only a single dose.
The results of the new vaccine's early trials were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine for peer review.
Combined results of the first- and second-stage trials, which tested the vaccine in about 800 people, showed that either one or two doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine generated antibody and T-cell responses, with minimal side effects.
The vaccine is presently in third-stage trials, which are designed to demonstrate whether it protects patients against infection or symptoms of the coronavirus disease. The initial stages did not examine that possibility.
The new results showed that the vaccine produced an immune response in 90% of volunteers by the 29th day, and in all volunteers within two months. The antibody levels remained stable for at least 71 days, the research says.
The vaccine uses a weaker variation of a common cold virus to carry genetic material into the body to produce pieces of the virus that can be recognized by the immune system. Reported side effects include headache, body aches and, in some cases, fever.
The vaccine was tested in the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium in two volunteer groups -- for those age 65 and older and persons between 18 and 55.
Johnson & Johnson said it expects to announce results from its third-stage trials later this month. If the vaccine continues to prove effective, the company said it will immediately request approval from the Food and Drug Administration.