SANTIAGO — With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many laboratories around the world are working on a vaccine to fight Covid-19. One of them, Janssen, is starting Phase III of its clinical trial and plans to enroll 60,000 participants. Chile is among the countries chosen to participate.
Numerous pharmaceutical companies around the world are working on vaccines to fight Covid-19. According to the New York Times, there are currently more than 165 vaccines in development, and 32 of those are in human trials.
Among them is U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical company, Janssen. The company has been researching and testing for months now and will begin Phase III of its trial in September. As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain, “In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.”
Janssen has selected Chile to be part of Phase III. According to LUN, the company said that the selection “took into account the current prevalence of the disease, [and] the demographics of the population.”
The Run-Up To Janssen’s Phase III
Last month, Nature published an early version of a peer-reviewed paper that showed that in a nonhuman preclinical study, Janssen’s vaccine had caused an immune response against Covid-19. This resulted in a green light for the pharmaceutical company to start testing on humans. Janssen now plans to enroll 60,000 people to test the vaccine. Peru, Colombia, and Brazil are also among the countries that will participate in Phase III of this clinical trial.
In Chile, the University of Chile’s Medical Department will be in charge of the process. Miguel O’Ryan, a doctor with the department, explained to Biobio that the vaccine consists of other viruses “that do not cause diseases, but allow for a genetic segment of the coronavirus to be introduced into the body … [causing cells to] produce the spike protein of the coronavirus.”
Janssen’s goals for the future are high: “Provided that the investigational vaccine proves to be safe and effective, the company aims to manufacture over 1 billion doses to be distributed globally through 2021.”
Other Vaccine Trials In Chile
Aside from the Janssen trial, in June the Catholic University of Chile signed an agreement with Chinese laboratory Sinovac Biotech to evaluate the vaccine that Sinovac Biotech is developing. The agreement includes human trials in Chile once the vaccine is in Phase III.
In late July, the Ministry of Health also announced Chile’s participation in a Covid-19 vaccine trial that Oxford University and the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca are developing. All vaccine trials that take place in Chile have to be pre-approved by the country’s Public Health Institute. If the institute approves Janssen’s trial, the trial will begin here in September.
Fernanda Gándara is currently finishing her journalism degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She’s passionate about writing, environmental issues and women empowerment. You can find her on Twitter as @FerGMarchant