J&J just sped up the timeline for its coronavirus vaccine, and said it could be ready for emergency use early next year

FILE - This Jan. 23, 2020 file photo shows a patient receiving a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas. On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vaccine has been more than 50% effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send a child to the doctor's office. Health experts consider that pretty good. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE – This Jan. 23, 2020 file photo shows a patient receiving a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas. On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vaccine has been more than 50% effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send a child to the doctor’s office. Health experts consider that pretty good. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Associated Press

  • The world’s largest healthcare company is accelerating its timeline for a coronavirus vaccine, saying it could be available for emergency use by early next year.

  • Johnson & Johnson said Monday it has selected a lead vaccine candidate and plans to start testing it in people no later than September. 

  • The New Jersey drugmaking giant also pledged it will ramp up manufacturing to supply 1 billion doses of a vaccine to the world.

  • J&J’s vaccine would be affordable to the public “on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use,” the company stated.

  • Previously, the company said it was aiming to start clinical trials in November. 

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Johnson & Johnson announced Monday an accelerated timeline that could lead to a coronavirus vaccine that’s ready for emergency use in early 2021. 

J&J, the world’s largest healthcare company, said it has identified a lead vaccine candidate to bring into human testing. Testing should begin by the fall and produce clinical results on safety and efficacy by the end of 2020, J&J said.

“We are moving on an accelerated timeline toward Phase 1 human clinical trials at the latest by September 2020 and, supported by the global production capability that we are scaling up in parallel to this testing, we expect a vaccine could be ready for emergency use in early 2021,” said Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, in a statement.

Read more: There are more than 40 potential coronavirus vaccines in the works. Here are the top efforts to watch, including the 8 vaccines set to be tested in people this year.

The New Jersey pharmaceutical giant also pledged to make a vaccine affordable to the public, adding it would distribute a vaccine on a “not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.” It said it will ramp up manufacturing to be able to supply at least 1 billion doses of a vaccine to the world.

J&J has been researching the genetic sequence of the coronavirus since January in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. After producing several vaccines, they were tested to identify the most promising ones at causing an immune response. 

The vaccine’s development is also being supported by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). J&J and BARDA have committed more than $1 billion to the vaccine’s development, the company stated. 

The update shortens an already quick timeline for vaccine development, Previously, J&J said it was aiming to start testing a coronavirus vaccine in humans in November. 

Vaccine development typically takes five to seven years before applying for regulatory approval, J&J stated. In this case, J&J is expecting it to take about a year to go from early research to emergency approval, if needed.

There are more than 40 ongoing research programs for a coronavirus vaccine. All are attempting to speed up the lengthy development process to halt the pandemic, and the speediest efforts have already started to be tested in humans in record time.

Read more: ‘Crazy hours, short nights’: The inside story of how a buzzy biotech upstart developed a potential coronavirus vaccine in record time

US health officials, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, have repeatedly stated it will take at least a year to know if any vaccine is safe and effective against the coronavirus.

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