Janssen to begin final stage trials of coronavirus candidate in the U.K.

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Britain will be the first country to run final stage trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the pharmaceutical company Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Scientists will begin recruiting some 6,000 people across the U.K. on Monday for the 12-month trial.

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Dr. Saul Faust, who is helping lead the study, said the research will start first in Britain but aims to recruit a total of 30,000 people in six countries around the world.

The shot uses a harmless cold virus to deliver the spike protein of the coronavirus into the body, which scientists hope will prompt an immune response.

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Faust said the news from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech last week that their vaccine appears to be 90% effective according to preliminary data was a welcome boost for their research.

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“It’s fantastic news that vaccines aimed at the spike protein can prevent coronavirus disease,” Faust, a professor of pediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton, said at a news briefing.

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“We just don’t know how each of these vaccines is going to behave and which are going to generate the better short and long-term immunity,” he added.

Read more: Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine may be 90% effective, early data suggests

Faust said half of the people in the new U.K. study will be given a placebo vaccine of saline. He added that researchers are hoping to recruit people from groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including older people and those of ethnic minorities.

The Jannsen vaccine is among the six experimental coronavirus vaccines that Britain has ordered as part of a planned 350 million-dose stockpile.

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