Johnson & Johnson are planning to start testing their experimental COVID-19 vaccine on subjects between the ages of 12 and 18.
The company has experience in testing vaccines with children, which is likely to give it an easier time getting the go-ahead from regulators. Should this be successful, they then plan to test on even younger children.
“We plan to go into children as soon as we possibly can, but very carefully in terms of safety,” Johnson & Johnson’s Dr. Jerry Sadoff told a virtual meeting of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices according to Reuters.
This is not the first company to test its COVID-19 vaccine in children. Pfizer Inc has already begun testing its BioNTech vaccine on children 12 years and older.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a cold virus to deliver coronavirus genetic material in order to spur an immune response. This platform is the same that’s used for the Ebola vaccine that was approved for use earlier this year.
“Most of the toxicities are going to come from the platform and not from putting a different insert into the platform,” Spearman said. “So replacing the Ebola genetic material with that of the novel coronavirus is unlikely to give you major issues.”
The vaccine is currently in Phase III of its adult trial with 60,000 volunteers.