On December 31, 2019, several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The novel virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, has since spread across China and to other countries and territories. The WHO has named the disease caused by this novel coronavirus: COVID-19.
Johnson & Johnson is mobilizing resources of its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies in response to the outbreak to develop a possible preventive vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, leveraging Janssen’s AdVac® and PER.C6® technology, that provide the ability to rapidly upscale production of the optimal vaccine candidate. These are the same technologies that were used in the development and manufacturing of Janssen’s investigational Ebola vaccine, which is currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and were also used to construct the Company’s Zika, RSV and HIV vaccine candidates.
The Company announced on February 18, 2020 that Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies will expand its existing partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, to seek treatment solutions for COVID-19. These efforts, in addition to the ongoing development of a potential vaccine candidate with BARDA, build on Johnson & Johnson’s multipronged response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Company’s multi-pronged approach also includes a review of known pathways in coronavirus pathophysiology to determine whether previously tested medicines can be used to help patients survive COVID-19 and reduce the severity of disease in non-lethal cases.
Johnson & Johnson has robust business continuity plans in place across its global supply chain network to prepare for unforeseen events like the coronavirus outbreak. These steps include maintaining critical inventory at major distribution centers away from high-risk areas and working with external suppliers to support our preparedness plans. We are closely monitoring product demand and supply levels across our global network to ensure adequate and effective distribution, and working diligently to meet patient, customer and consumer need.
In January 2020, we announced our support of frontline health workers through the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation, committing $250M over 10 years. On March 27, 2020, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation increased that commitment by $50M for immediate COVID-19 response, primarily focused on supporting frontline health workers. Whether cash grants, personal protective equipment (PPE), employee donations and volunteering, or J&J product donations, we will listen as we always do to frontline health workers themselves, our cross-sector partners and our colleagues across the world who best know the needs and realities of their communities. Learn more here.
On March 30, 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that a lead vaccine candidate against COVID-19 has been selected to move into clinical trials by September 2020 at the latest, alongside news of a landmark $1B commitment to vaccine research and development between the Company and BARDA and plans for Johnson & Johnson to supply one billion vaccines worldwide for emergency pandemic use.
Champions of Science
Johnson & Johnson has a long-standing commitment to fight established and emerging epidemics and will continue to mobilize resources to support global efforts in combating the current coronavirus outbreak.
— Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson
We recognize the urgent need for solutions to address this urgent global health crisis. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, we are mobilizing all available resources and working with our global partners to help combat this virus.
— Johan Van Hoof, M.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head, Vaccines, Janssen Pharmaceuticals R&D; Managing Director, Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.
The human health impact of the novel coronavirus is growing, and as such we are mobilizing our scientists to work on a vaccine in the fight against the coronavirus. This commitment builds on our previous efforts and experience in addressing recent global health crises related to Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
— Hanneke Schuitemaker, Vice President, Head of Viral Vaccine Discovery and Translational Medicine and Disease Area Stronghold Leader, Viral Vaccines, Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.
As part of the effort to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, we have initiated efforts to broadly collaborate with others to screen a library of antiviral molecules, in order to identify a solution that could contribute to providing immediate relief to the current coronavirus outbreak.
— James Merson, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Infectious Diseases, Janssen Pharmaceuticals R&D
This is not the first time that a member of the large family of coronaviruses (CoVs) has led to an outbreak of infections among humans. The crises involving severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012 were both caused by CoVs. J&J is mobilizing resources to find solutions for COVID-19.
December 31, 2019
China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan. The virus is unknown.
January 7, 2020
WHO announces they have identified a new virus named 2019-nCoV, also known as Wuhan coronavirus. It is from the CoV family, which includes SARS and the common cold.
January 11, 2020
First death linked to 2019-nCoV.
January 12, 2020
J&J initiates efforts to develop a vaccine candidate against 2019-nCoV and to broadly collaborate with others to screen a library of antiviral molecules.
January 30, 2020
WHO declares the 2019-nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
February 1, 2020
First death linked to 2019-nCoV was reported outside of China, in the Philippines.
February 11, 2020
COVID-19 is announced as the official name of the disease caused by novel coronavirus. The virus is named SARS-CoV-2.
February 11, 2020
J&J announces collaboration with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to accelerate development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
February 18, 2020
J&J announces expanded collaboration with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to accelerate discovery of potential COVID-19 treatments.
February 23, 2020
Europe has its first major outbreak of COVID-19, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy
February 26, 2020
The first case of COVID-19 was reported in South America, marking the spread of the disease to six of seven continents.
March 11, 2020
WHO declares the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
March 27, 2020
J&J announces a $50 million commitment to support frontline health workers battling COVID-19.
March 30, 2020
J&J announces a lead vaccine candidate will move into trials and pledges to supply 1B vaccines worldwide for emergency pandemic use. BARDA and J&J commit $1B to vaccine R&D.