Johnson & Johnson tasked dozens of scientists across the world to work on a vaccine for the fast-spreading coronavirus and the company is "pretty confident" in its outlook, J&J's chief scientific officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said Monday on CNBC. The company has achieved similar success in treating the Ebola outbreak in six months.
But the company has to essentially "start from scratch" in developing a new vaccine and will do so with multiple partners across the world, he said. Once a vaccine that shows demonstrable results is created, the company can then be in a position to manufacture 300 million doses within a year.
Why It's Important
In the meantime, Stoffels said Chinese health authorities are testing if existing HIV drug treatments can be used to treat those with the disease. Johnson & Johnson has provided Chinese authorities with the appropriate medicine but it's important to "over-hype" the treatment until clinical outcomes are published.
According to Bloomberg, a respiratory expert in China Wang Guangfa was infected with the virus and HIV drugs worked on him
Stoffels said he's worried the outbreak could expand to a global pandemic: "That's why we started working on this vaccine two weeks ago. We have to be prepared that this is going to become a global crisis."