By Ciarán Mather
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has reportedly filed for approval from the EU to authorise the emergency use of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
It follows just one day after J&J reported that the US' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously to give the green light to its vaccine for emergency use.
If approved, the company's vaccine would be the fourth jab to be approved for use across the 27-nation European Union if it gets the green light from the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA).
2.2 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been ordered by the Irish government.
Dr Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer said in a statement: 'We believe our Covid-19 vaccine candidate has the potential to help change the trajectory of the pandemic and stand ready to make it available to protect the public as soon as possible.'
It has also been reported that the EMA could issue an opinion on the single-dose vaccine by the middle of March 2021, provided that the company's data on the vaccine's efficiency, safety and quality 'are sufficiently comprehensive and robust.'
J&J has since said it will be able to ship three to four million doses of its vaccine next week, and that it expects to have enough supply to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of March.
Its shot uses a common-cold causing adenovirus, modified so it cannot replicate, as a 'vector' to shuttle genetic instructions into human cells, telling them to create a protein of the COVID-9 virus and thus better preparing the body to combat it.
However, it should be noted that the J&J vaccine reportedly does not protect as well against a highly transmissible South African variant of the virus.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been under a 'rolling review' by the EMA since December of last year.