Approval Leiden corona vaccine underscores the importance of scientific research in monkeys

16 Mar 2021 | Back to News, Publications and Annual Reports



The European Medicines Agency (EMA) ruled positive about Janssen’s corona vaccine on 11 March 2021. The approval once again underscores the importance of animal research, especially monkeys.

‘The vaccine protects after a single administration and can be administered to anyone from the age of 18’ according to the advice of EMA. Both statements find their origin in monkeys-studies.

One vaccination does the work

American researchers showed that the vaccine offers sufficient protection against infection after a single administration. For this they measured the amount of virus in the lungs and noses of six vaccinated rhesus monkeys, and compared that with virus levels in unvaccinated animals. Five out of the six monkeys appeared to be fully protected, in the sixth monkey only a low amount of virus was found in the nose, but not in the lungs.

Works in people of all ages

Vaccines often work less well as we get older. To assess the efficacy of the Leiden vaccine, BPRC, in collaboration with Janssen, tested this vaccine in older rhesus monkeys. The study showed that the vaccine was also effective in these older animals.

The Janssen vaccine in humans

Naturally, the vaccine was also tested in humans. The ENSEMBLE study demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Janssen's COVID-19 vaccine in different geographic areas, as well as in adults aged 60 years and older. The vaccine protected from day 14, also against some variants that occur in the US, Latin America and South Africa.