Johnson & Johnson vaccine developments on pause after participant falls ill

Johnson & Johnson have been testing their experimental coronavirus vaccine in the Netherlands for the past month. But their operations at Janssen, based in Leiden, have been temporarily paused.

The American pharmaceutical company announced the decision to pause vaccine testing after a test subject became unexpectedly ill. A private company is investigating the illness of the participant and until more information is known, dosing of candidates in all of Johnson & Johnson’s clinical trials will stop.

The participant’s illness during the vaccine study is classed as an unexpected serious adverse event (SAE), which may or may not be related to the vaccine. The company explained that SAEs are to be expected during any clinical study, but it must now be fully determined whether the illness has anything to do with the vaccine before trials and developments can continue.

Race for a vaccine

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was not the leader in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. Four other pharmaceutical companies are already in stage three of development, which entails testing the vaccine on larger groups of people. These include potential vaccines from the University of Oxford, BioNTech and Moderna.

Many companies in the US are pushing to have a vaccine ready for distribution by the end of the year, or early next year at the latest. Achieving this, says Biopharmadive, would be unprecedented in the medical field. No vaccine would have ever been developed that quickly, let alone distributed to the public.

Worldwide, there are currently over 100 COVID-19 vaccine candidates being developed, according to the WHO. As the second wave rises, only time will tell when a successful COVID-19 vaccine will become a reality.

Would you take a coronavirus trial vaccine? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image: ©Gorkem Yorulmaz/

Emily Burger
Emily Burger
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.


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