The Janssen-Cilag International N.V COVID-19 vaccine, which has recently received authorization for emergency use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was developed with fundamental support from the Molecular Virology group of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC).
Coronoviruses have been studied at LUMC for over 30 years, which has led to the development of a well-established research infrastructure with relevant experience, trained staff and a state-of-the-art Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. The experience, expertise and facilities of LUMC played a vital role in research and development process of the successful Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Professor Eric Snijder and Dr Marjolein Kikkert of LUMC played a key role in this collaboration, which has led to the development of a first single-shot COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use in Bahrain, Canada, United States and on March 11, in the European Union.
The collaboration with physicians working in LUMC’s clinical BEAT-COVID program and their sharing of the existing patients’ materials enabled the application of the standardized virus preparations underlying the vaccine project. Led by the molecular virologist Dr Sebe Myeni together with research technicians Tim Dalebout and Shessy Torres, LUMC teams were further responsible for setting up and running crucial viral neutralization tests to measure antibody responses to the vaccine candidates.
LUMC and Janssen are hopeful that their partnership will translate into an impactful outcome for the world. The collaboration is now entering a new phase, which focuses on tracking the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants to assess whether vaccine adjustments need to be made, now or in the future.
For more information and details on the collaboration and research, please read HERE.