Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in Europe from April 19, the company told AFP on Monday.
This vaccine was, in mid-March, the fourth to obtain authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), after those of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. It is currently only inoculated in the United States and South Africa, but it has already been approved by Canada.
To increase its production and respond to demand, Johnson & Johnson has concluded several agreements in recent months with European laboratories and subcontractors, which will be responsible for its packaging: these are Sanofi in France, Catalent in Italy and IDT Biologika in Germany.
The active ingredient, which gives the vaccine its effectiveness, will come from the center that Johnson & Johnson owns in Leiden, the Netherlands.
The European Union, which has ordered 200 million doses from the US laboratory (with an option for another 200 million supplementary doses), would receive about 55 million doses in the second quarter of the year, Ursula von der Leyen explained in March, President of the European Commission. For its part, the laboratory has not communicated the exact schedule of its deliveries.
The vaccine is supported by a viral vector, applying a technology already used by this company, in particular against the Ebola virus.
In addition, it uses another attenuated virus as a carrier, transformed to add genetic instructions for a part of the virus responsible for covid-19. Once it reaches cells, it produces a protein typical of SARS-CoV-2 (virus from the same family that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Southeast Asia in 2002-2004), which allows the immune system to recognize it.
This vaccine is the first single-dose vaccine to receive authorization from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The pharmaceutical group has also agreed to sell it at cost.