90 Leuven test subjects test the Janssen Pharmaceutica's corona vaccine

27 July 2020

Janssen Pharmaceutica has recently started testing its corona vaccine candidate in humans. In total more than 1,000 healthy subjects will receive the experimental vaccine, spread over several centres in Belgium and the US. UZ Leuven also participates in the trial and as of today will start administering the vaccine to 90 test subjects.

Onderzoeker met vaccin

Build resistance

Vaccines against the coronavirus are meant to prevent the development of COVID-19. The Janssen Pharmaceutica candidate-vaccine is a vector vaccine based on a common cold virus (adenovirus) that doesn't multiply in humans. It ensures that the body builds resistance to the characteristic protrusions (spike proteins) on the exterior of the coronavirus. This can enable a strong immune reaction after contact with the coronavirus and stops the further spread.

Janssen Pharmaceutica has now set up a trial to test the vaccine in various centres in Belgium and the US, via the mother company Johnson & Johnson. It concerns a double-blind, randomised phase 1/2a trial with a control group. One group will be administered the experimental vaccine and the other group a placebo. Neither test subjects nor researchers knows who will be administered what. , Het gaat om een dubbelblinde, gerandomiseerde fase 1/2a-studie met een controlegroep.

Test subjects wanted

Prof. dr. Jan de Hoon from the clinical pharmacology centre in UZ Leuven will be overseeing the Leuven part of the trial as principal investigator, which also includes the cooperation of the Leuven University Vaccinology Centre (LUVAC). “In total we will test 90 heallthy test subjects, which is nearly 10 per cent of the total test population. Most have been recruted already, but we are still looking for people in the 65-75 age category, that will be given a first injection mid-August.”

First results in the autumn

The test subjects will be given two injections, the first one now, then the next two months later. After that there will be a one year follow-up to examine the vaccine's safety, whether it is well supported and whether it induces the desired immune reaction.

Last edit: 30 July 2020