The Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that people may need an annual Covid-19 shot for many years to come in order to be protected against variants of the virus.
“Unfortunately, as (the virus) spreads it can also mutate,” Alex Gorsky told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell Tuesday during the network’s Healthy Returns Spotlight event. “Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend of antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine.”
Johnson & Johnson asked the US Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine on Thursday.
Experts say the J&J Covid-19 vaccine has advantages over others since it is a single shot and can be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures. Pfizer’s and Moderna's authorized vaccines both require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept in at deep freeze temperatures.
Clinical trials showed J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe disease. It was 85% effective overall at preventing hospitalization and 100% at preventing death in all regions where it was tested. The vaccine has also been tested against some of the variants. In South Africa it was 57% effective and in Latin America it was 66% effective.
The FDA could authorize the J&J vaccine as early as the end of this month.