Emergent Biosolutions Inc. CEO Robert Kramer assured investors that he takes “full responsibility” for woes that beset the firm after the FDA’s Form 483 found serious manufacturing problems at the Baltimore, Md.-based Bayview plant. “You have my commitment that we're going to do everything we can to resolve these issues quickly, and as safely as possible,” he said during an April 29 conference call on first-quarter financial results.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices again took up the matter of risk vs. benefit with the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, and proved significantly less skeptical at its second meeting. The FDA and CDC swiftly determined that the recommended pause should be lifted and use of the vaccine should resume.
In addition to safety questions about its COVID-19 vaccine, Johnson & Johnson is facing manufacturing challenges as a key partner, Emergent Biosolutions Inc., has yet to get FDA approval to manufacture or distribute the vaccine or its components in the U.S. That approval could be awhile in coming. On April 21, a day after completing its onsite inspection of Emergent’s Bayview plant in Baltimore, Md., the FDA released Form 483 from its inspection, revealing nine observations related to cross-contamination issues, lack of employee training and poorly designed and maintained facilities.
LONDON – The EMA’s safety committee has concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets are a rare side effect of Johnson & Johnson Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine and that a warning should be added to the label. The decision is based on all available evidence, which currently consists of eight reports from the U.S. of serious cases of thrombosis, one of which was fatal. All cases were in people under 60 years of age, and within three weeks after vaccination, the majority in women. One case occurred during the clinical trials.
As COVID-19 deaths across the globe top 3 million, with more than 1 million in Europe alone, the global demand is increasing for mRNA vaccines, even as sponsors of adenovirus vaccines push back against ongoing safety concerns. Last week, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe reported that the confirmed COVID-19 death toll for the region had surpassed 1 million, with 1.6 million new cases being reported every week. More than 171 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region, translating to nearly 13% of the European population receiving one dose and close to 6% completing both doses of the vaccines.
The current pause on administering Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) one-dose COVID-19 vaccine likely will continue in the U.S. after the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) declined to make a recommendation on a path forward April 14.
The FDA and the CDC have jointly recommended a temporary pause in the further rollout of Johnson & Johnson Co.’s COVID-19 vaccine while they investigate six rare clotting cases in adults ages 18 to 48.
LONDON – The EMA has concluded that the rare cases of serious blood clots with low platelet counts seen after administration of Astrazeneca plc’s COVID-19 vaccine are caused by the vaccine, but said the benefits of its use continue to outweigh the risks. The possibility of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and splanchnic vein thrombosis in the abdomen will now be listed as rare side effects and the EMA’s guidance to health care professionals will be updated.
Citing the limited data for CAR T therapies in treating multiple myeloma, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review said their cost-effectiveness for some patients will depend on whether a second dose is needed.
HONG KONG – Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&J Vision) has received its first global approval from Japan for its Acuvue Theravision with Ketotifen contact lenses. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s green light will help with patients with vision correction, while simultaneously alleviating ocular allergic symptoms for allergic conjunctivitis, while they wear the lenses.