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Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

The big picture: The vaccine is not as effective as some of its two-dose competitors, but still provides strong protection against the most serious COVID-19 symptoms.

  • J&J’s vaccine, which results in development of neutralizing antibodies, is long-lasting and doesn’t require freezing like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s shots, per Bloomberg. The vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for three months.
  • The company said it will file for emergency use authorization from the FDA within a week. The U.S. has purchased 100 million vaccine doses from J&J.

What they're saying: "The J&J vaccine turns in a fantastic result. We now have 3 highly effective vaccines. This vaccine showed sustained (and increasing!) immune protection over time, perhaps from a robust early induction of memory immune cells (CD4 and CD8)," tweeted former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

  • "This one shot vaccine was highly effective at preventing severe disease, even with new variants. The milieu of disease now is more complex; even in U.S. - trials done today are running into more mutated cases. Make no mistake: this is an important and wonderful development."

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Lawmakers call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire amid aerial bombardments

Combination images of Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images/Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and 28 Senate Democrats on Sunday called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as fighting continued into the night.

Driving the news: Young, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, joined panel Chair Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in a bipartisan statement saying: "Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas' rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing.