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J&J announces lead vaccine for COVID-19, commits to provide one billion vaccines worldwide

Johnson & Johnson has announced today that along with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the company will invest $1 billion for the development of novel coronavirus vaccine research and development. The company is expected to initiate the Phase 1 clinical trials in September 2020. The company has also announced that the vaccine might be available for use in early 2021 for emergency authorization use.

BARDA, is a part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Johnson and Johnson announced that it had allocated research, infrastructure, and personnel. The company is planning to set up a new vaccine facility in the U.S. along with expanding the facilities in other countries.

Alex Gorsky, Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson, said, "The world is facing an urgent public health crisis, and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible. As the world's largest healthcare company, we feel a deep responsibility to improve the health of people around the world every day."

The company has stated that the efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 was started in January 2020. The company has collaborated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Harvard Medical School, to develop and test vaccines against COVID-19 using Janssen's AdVac technology. The company has announced that it has used the same technology to develop vaccines for Zika, RSV, and HIV vaccine, which are different phases of the clinical trials.

The company has also announced that it is screening its antiviral molecules to check activity against the novel coronavirus.

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