Johnson & Johnson said that interim data from the phase 3 trial of its single-dose vaccine candidate had shown it to be 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. However, the level of protection was lower in areas where new strains of the coronavirus are more prevalent, suggesting that it could be less effective at protecting against them.
This news could give Moderna a decided edge over Johnson & Johnson in terms of winning vaccine supply orders from governments. Clinical trials showed Moderna's vaccine to be 94% effective against COVID-19. Further studies are currently underway to determine its level of effectiveness against new virus strains.
The U.S. government has already signed a deal to purchase 200 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine. On Wednesday, the company said it was in talks with Washington regarding a deal for it to purchase 100 million more doses.
Moderna has emerged as a leader in the battle against COVID-19, thanks to the promising results of its clinical trials. The biotech is ramping up its vaccine production capabilities, and it remains on track to deliver as many as 1 billion doses worldwide in 2021.