A fourth COVID-19 vaccine candidate started Phase 3 trials this week in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and South Africa. The researchers hope to see results by the end of the year. The tests are also being conducted in a separate trial in the UK.
The vaccine, developed by The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, will be tested on up to 60,000 volunteers at over 200 test sites. This is twice the size of the other US vaccine trials to date. This vaccine uses a 1-dose approach and showed promising results in Phase 1 and 2 studies. The other vaccines that are undergoing clinical trials require 2 doses. The other benefit of the J&J vaccine is its portability. If successful, this vaccine does not need to be frozen, just refrigerated.
There are many similar studies around the world. In the US, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer are conducting Phase 3 trials, although the AstraZeneca trial was suspended earlier this month due to illness in a volunteer in the UK.
Vaccines typically take years to develop, so the large number of Phase 3 trials for a new disease worldwide is unknown. "Four COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in phase 3 clinical trials in the US just over eight months after SARS-CoV-2 was identified. This is an unprecedented achievement for science, made possible by decades of advances in vaccine technology and a coordinated strategic approach between government, industry and academia, "said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID, in a press release. “It is likely that multiple COVID-19 vaccination schedules will be required to meet global needs. The Janssen candidate has shown promise in early-stage testing and can be particularly useful for controlling the pandemic if it is found to be protective after a single dose. "
Would you like to take part in a trial version? This page explains what it is about and how to volunteer. The US National Library of Medicine also has a website that lists all ongoing clinical trials.