J&J's coronavirus vaccine candidate prevents severe disease in hamsters

Sept 3- Johnson& Johnson said on Thursday its experimental coronavirus vaccine prevented hamsters from getting severely ill, as the drugmaker seeks to begin large, late-stage studies in humans later this month. In the pre-clinical study, vaccinated animals lost less weight and had less virus in their lungs and other organs than unvaccinated animals.

Sept 3 (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson said on

Thursday its experimental coronavirus vaccine prevented hamsters

from getting severely ill, as the drugmaker seeks to begin

large, late-stage studies in humans later this month.

In the pre-clinical study, vaccinated animals lost lessweight and had less virus in their lungs and other organs thanunvaccinated animals. (https://bit.ly/3gVS8ey)

The company began early-stage human trials in the UnitedStates and Belgium in July, after details of a study in monkeysshowed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strongprotection in a single dose.

Depending on data from the early-stage trial, J&J plans tobegin phase 3 testing in the second half of September.

In the pre-clinical study reported on Thursday, Syriangolden hamsters, which are more susceptible to diseases thanmonkeys, were first vaccinated and then exposed to the novelcoronavirus after four weeks.

The researchers found low levels of antibodies that canneutralize the virus were tied to high levels of weight loss andviral replication in the lungs.(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by ShounakDasgupta)

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