J&J launches final study of COVID-19 vaccine

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Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday (September 23) kicked off a final 60,000-person trial of a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

The treatment has the potential to simplify distribution of millions of doses compared with leading rivals requiring two inoculations.

The company said it expects results of the Phase III trial by year end or early next year.

Rival vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca all require two shots separated by several weeks, which make them much more difficult to administer.

The race for a vaccine comes amid reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon announce more stringent standards for issuing emergency use authorization.

The Washington Post on Tuesday (September 22) reported the FDA is changing its guidance to boost transparency and public trust as health experts grow increasingly concerned the Trump administration might be interfering in the approval process to bolster the president's re-election chances.

According to the Post, vaccine manufacturers will have to follow some trial participants for more than two months after they receive a second shot.

Few vaccine developers were expected to have definitive trial results before the presidential election.

Pfizer Inc had been the exception, although its timetable could slip with the new guidance.

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