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Another Trial to Ramp Up

Johnson & Johnson is starting a late-stage clinical trial of its candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the Associated Press reports.

The trial will include about 60,000 adult volunteers at 215 locations in the US and abroad who will be randomized to receive either a dose of the candidate vaccine or placebo, according to CNBC. The candidate vaccine, which is from J&J's subsidiary Janessen, builds on an experimental Ebola vaccine the firm developed and tweaked to instead target the coronavirus, it adds. In preclinical studies, the candidate adenovirus-based vaccine elicited an immune response and offered protection in non-human primates.

Unlike other candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in late-stage testing, J&J's is a one-shot regimen, rather than two, the AP notes. Other candidate vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca are also in late-stage clinical testing, though AstraZeneca's trial was halted due to a report of a participant with a neurological condition, but has resumed in the UK and other non-US locations. 

Paul Stoffels, J&J's chief scientific officer, tells CNBC that it will take the company about six weeks to two months to recruit all the volunteers needed. The AP adds that the company expects that it will have results by early next year. J&J, Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca were among the firms that pledged they would not seek regulatory approval of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine until it has been shown to be safe and effective.