By focusing on vulnerable populations, we aim to improve health for everyone across the globe.
At Janssen, we have a deep heritage of caring for those affected by respiratory infections. We have been actively engaged in fighting global pandemics for over a century. In 1918, Johnson & Johnson’s introduced hypodermic needles and sterile gauze masks to help fight the influenza pandemic. This commitment to treating respiratory infections continues today via our current consumer products for everyday respiratory care, as well as our response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
We are developing a variety of solutions for respiratory infections, including COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and influenza where innovative treatment and prevention approaches are urgently needed.
The world urgently needs solutions to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a major global public health crisis, affecting billions of people, directly or indirectly, worldwide. As part of Johnson & Johnson’s multi-pronged response to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to rapid scientific progress toward treatment and prevention measures.
While it is lesser known than flu, RSV is very prevalent, highly contagious, and a leading cause of bronchitis and pneumonia in older adults and young children. With no preventive vaccine or effective antiviral treatment available, RSV is a large health and economic burden globally.6
RSV affects more than 64 million people every year.7 For young children, older adults and those with underlying health conditions, RSV infection poses a high risk.
Each year, RSV leads to more than 2.1 million outpatient visits among children in the US alone, and ~60,000 deaths in children under 5 worldwide, nearly half of which occur in infants under 6 months old.8,9 Among older adults, RSV causes ~177,000 hospitalizations and ~14,000 deaths annually in the US alone.9
We are pursuing multiple avenues to address the serious harm caused by RSV infections. These include evaluating antivirals that aim to reduce signs, symptoms and complications of RSV infection by targeting the virus at different stages of replication. Early diagnosis is also essential for maximizing the benefit of these antivirals. We are collaborating with diagnostic companies developing platforms that will bring accurate, fast, and inexpensive diagnostics directly to patients and healthcare workers. Moreover, we are using our proprietary vaccine technology to develop preventive vaccines for RSV.
Our pipeline is poised to bring novel prevention and treatment options to those at greatest risk and in greatest need. Working with key healthcare stakeholders, we aim to prevent and treat RSV in vulnerable populations.
Influenza evolves and travels quickly, so reducing its burden is a complex challenge. Influenza is one of the top 10 threats to global public health, according the World Health Organization.1
Nearly 1/3 of the world’s population became infected during the 1918 Flu Pandemic and at least
50 million people died.2
Today there are more than one billion cases of influenza each year,
resulting in up to 650,000 deaths.3,4
While seasonal vaccinations are currently the most effective way to prevent infection, reduce transmission, and decrease the severity of illness, during most seasons, influenza vaccines only reduce the risk of illness by 40 to 60 percent among the overall population.5
An influenza pandemic would pose an extreme public health risk, which is why we are working to combat influenza. This includes a "universal" vaccine with the potential to protect against a wider variety of influenza strains, reducing the risk of mismatches between vaccine elicited immunity and the circulating vaccine strains.
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1 World Health Organization. Ten threats to global health in 2019. Available at: https://www.who.int/vietnam/news/feature-stories/detail/ten-threats-to-global-health-in-2019. Last accessed: November 2019.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1918 pandemic (H1N1 virus). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html. Last accessed: November 2019.
3 Krammer F, et al. Influenza. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2018;4(3).
4 World Health Organization. Influenza (seasonal). Available at: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal). Last accessed: November 2019.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine effectiveness: How well does the flu vaccine work? Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm. Last accessed: November 2019.
6 Falsey AR, Hennessey PA, Formica MA, Cox C, Walsh EE. Respiratory syncytial virus infection in elderly and high-risk adults. N Engl J Med. 2005 Apr 28;352(17):1749–59.
7 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/respiratory-syncytial-virus-rsv. Last accessed: November 2019.
8 Oxford Vaccines Group. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Available at: http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/rsv. Last accessed: November 2019.
9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RSV. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/research/us-surveillance.html. Last accessed: November 2019.