Johnson & Johnson and U.S. Signs $456 Million Contract for New COVID-19 Vaccine

March 31, 2020

From Ahvie Herskowitz, MD and Devin Wilson, ND

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the US just partnered with Johnson & Johnson (J & J) for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The contract is for $456 million and is part of a $1 billion deal to co-fund vaccine research, development and clinical testing with the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Office.

J & J believes that human testing of its vaccine for COVID-19 will begin as early as September and could be available for emergency use in 2021 which is significantly quicker than the typical 18 month period it takes for vaccines to be tested and manufactured.

“We have very good early indicators that not only can we depend on this to be a safe vaccine base but also one that will ultimately be effective based on all the early testing and modelling we’ve been doing.”Alex Gorsky, J & J Chairman and CEO

In addition to working with J & J, the US has also announced working with the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur on a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, despite contracts with these two companies, neither of them have a COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials. In contrast, other companies have progressed and there are two vaccines currently going through clinical trials.

In mid-March, an NIH clinical trial investigating a new vaccine for COVID-19 began at Kaiser Permannente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington. Due to the pandemic, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) permitted the new vaccine to be fast-tracked to human studies, skipping the thorough testing done in animal models. This phase 1 human clinical study is investigating the safety of the new vaccine and its ability to cause an immune response in healthy volunteers.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the only other vaccine currently in clinical trials is from CanSino Biological in China.

Despite a global rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine readily available it is unlikely one will be ready this year. While we wait for the results of these clinical trials to be published we hope to have a safe and effective vaccine soon.


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About Ahvie Herskowitz, MD

Dr. Herskowitz’s extensive training includes a medical degree from The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, residencies in Anatomic Pathology and Internal Medicine, and Fellowship training in Cardiology at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center. During his 12 years at Johns Hopkins, he became Associate Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Molecular Microbiology and led a research team in the study of molecular and immunological mechanisms of inflammation, autoimmunity, ischemia, heart transplantation rejection and congestive heart failure.

Dr. Herskowitz’s latest academic appointment was as Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco. To learn more about Dr. Herskowitz, you can read it bio here.


About Devin Wilson, ND

Dr. Devin Wilson is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the state of California. He treats an array of acute and chronic diseases using a holistic and integrative approach to health. Dr. Wilson is also a health consultant, researcher and writer focusing on anti-aging and longevity medicine.

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