WHO adds Janssen vaccine to list of safe and effective emergency tools against COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) Friday listed the COVID-19 vaccineAd26.COV2.S, developed by Janssen(Johnson & Johnson), for emergency use in all countries and for COVAX roll-out.

The decision comes on the back of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorization, which was announced Thursday.

“Every new, safe and effective tool against COVID-19 is another step closer to controlling the pandemic,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“But the hope offered by these tools will not materialize unless they are made available to all people in all countries. I urge governments and companies to live up to their commitments and to use all solutions at their disposal to ramp up production so that these tools become truly global public goods, available and affordable to all, and a shared solution to the global crisis.” Dr Tedros said

The vaccine from Janssen is the first to be listed by WHO as a single dose regimen, which should facilitate vaccination logistics in all countries. The ample data from large clinical trials shared by the company also shows that the vaccine is effective in older populations.

While the vaccine needs to be stored at -20 degrees, which may prove challenging in some environments, it can be kept for three months at 2-8°C and it has a long shelf life of two years.

WHO has also listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio and Serum Institute of India vaccines for emergency use.