Although things are moving fast Janssen Pharmaceutica’s Head of Vaccine Research Johan Van Hoof says that all safety procedures have been followed to the letter. “I can only speak for ourselves, but I have every faith that this is also the case with our colleagues, we would never skip stages that are critical to safety and quality”.
However, Mr Van Hoof added that although there is never zero risk, the risk to those taking part in the tests is minimal.
The tests on humans should prove whether or not the prototype vaccine offers effective protection against the novel coronavirus.
Johan Van Hoof hopes that this should become clear around the beginning of next year. However, this is depended on how much the virus spreads. “It sounds paradoxical, but if there is no spread of the virus it is not possible to prove that the vaccine offers protection against it”.
He added that the vaccine is also being tested outside Belgium and Europe.
Despite the strong response so far Janssen Pharmaceutica is still looking for people prepared to test the vaccine. “We still need around a hundred people”, Mr Van Hoof added.