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Infectious Diseases & Vaccines

Infectious Diseases & Vaccines

World demand for antibiotics remains high due to escalating resistance and the increased risk of serious infections in both immune-suppressed patients and ageing populations. Our goal is to transform people’s lives and to improve public health by fighting infectious diseases worldwide.

To that end we are leveraging solid foundations in science and innovative thinking to bring breakthrough solutions to key unmet medical needs such as HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis C and antibiotics for serious infections. We are pioneering unique collaborations to develop a portfolio of solutions, consisting of more effective drugs, preventive treatments, diagnostics and biomarkers to distinguish between various sub-types of a disease.

Living on the brink

AIDS has killed 25 million people to date, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. It is caused by the HIV virus which invades immune system cells, leaving patients open to life-threatening infections. The HIV virus writes itself into a cell’s DNA so that the cell manufactures viruses. HIV is a poorer proof-reader than your own cells and often copies its DNA incorrectly so that the new viruses are quite different from the original. It is because HIV is constantly changing, that it is difficult to treat.


A bug in the system

One-third of the world’s population is currently infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), and anyone infected has a 10% chance of suffering from TB during their lifetime. People with weakened immune systems are especially at risk of developing this often deadly lung disease. AIDS patients, for example, are ten times more likely to develop TB and often live in developing countries where TB infection is also more prevalent. In Africa, for example, 30-50% of the population is infected with TB, compared to 5% in the west.

Hope for a cure

The first antibiotic to treat TB was discovered 50 years ago, but treatment remains very difficult. Patients need to take four antibiotics continuously for six to nine months, which many find difficult to do. The one-in-ten-million bacteria surviving treatment has time to multiply and spread if no antibiotics are taken. The hunt continues, therefore, for a drug that can treat TB faster and kill the bacteria that survive treatment with existing antibiotics.

Related Video: The Silent Pandemic - Tackling Hepatitis C with Policy Innovation

Interested in having more specific data on infectious diseases and vaccines?

Are you looking for comparative worldwide or country specific data on the burden of oncological diseases? You can find it with the Janssen DiseaseLens™ - your interactive health data tool. Here you can search by country, by disease or keyword among 3,500 epidemiological statistics and 140 indicators from highly trusted sources.


The fight against Ebola

The worst Ebola outbreak to date was the West African epidemic, which caused nearly 30,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths in 2014-2016.[i] In 2018 the world’s second worst Ebola outbreak on record began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It has since caused more than 3,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths – a mortality rate of 65 percent.[ii] The newest outbreak, declared in the DRC in June 2020,[iii] underlines the urgent need for a proactive as well as a reactive public health response.

Janssen have supported vaccination initiatives in the DRC and neighboring Rwanda, with the goal of preventing outbreaks before they start.

Find out more about our work in Ebola


[i] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. March 8, 2019. Available at: Last accessed July 2020.

[ii] World Health Organization. 2020. Ebola Health Update. [online] Available at: Last accessed June 2020.

[iii] World Health Organization. Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2020. Available at: Last accessed July 2020.