Johnson & Johnson, through its pharmaceutical business Janssen, has initiated efforts to develop a vaccine candidate for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The company said that it will join forces with other industry partners to screen a library of antiviral therapies, and identify antiviral compounds for deactivating the viral infection, to address the recent 2019-nCoV outbreak originated in Wuhan, China.

Johnson & Johnson chief scientific officer and executive committee vice-chairman Paul Stoffels said: “We are collaborating with regulators, healthcare organizations, institutions and communities worldwide to help ensure our research platforms, existing science and outbreak expertise can be maximized to stem this public health threat.

“This latest outbreak of a novel pathogen once again reinforces the importance of investing in preparedness, surveillance and response to ensure the world remains ahead of potential pandemic threats.”

J&J will use AdVac and PER.C6 technologies to develop the vaccine for coronavirus

Under the vaccine development program, the company intends to leverage Janssen’s AdVac and PER.C6 technologies, to quickly upscale the production of the optimal vaccine candidate.

J&J said that the same technologies were used in the development and manufacturing of investigational Ebola vaccine, and later in the development of Zika, RSV and HIV vaccine candidates.

Also, the program includes a review of known pathways in coronavirus pathophysiology to determine the effectiveness of previously tested medicines to control the 2019-nCoV and reduce the severity of the viral infection.

Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences has recommended investigation of 30 potential compounds against 2019-nCoV, followed by the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University.

The recommended compounds include darunavir, the protease inhibitor component of PREZCOBIX, a prescription medicine for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1).

Furthermore, the World Health Organization has confirmed the 2019-nCoV cases across mainland China, along with confirmed cases in other countries including Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S.A and Vietnam.