3 Epic Health Breakthroughs from 2019
The new year is here! It's a time to look back on the past 12 months, and to look ahead to the next 12 with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. In that spirit, we'd like to highlight some of our major achievements from 2019—and show you how you can join us to make an even greater impact in the lives of people around the world in 2020.
HBV: Making Progress Toward a Functional Cure
The impact of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) on human health is almost impossible to overstate. Take the following stats from the World Health Organization (WHO), for example:
- Around 257 million people worldwide are chronically infected with HBV.
- HBV is directly responsible for more than 800,000 deaths annually.
- The disease is believed to cause approximately 40% of all primary liver cancers, which is the world's second-deadliest cancer.
But the WHO also notes that HBV research has been "drastically underfunded" in recent years. We're working to change that by focusing on what's called a "functional cure": a cure that brings HBV markers to undetectable levels in the blood, even after treatment has been stopped. And we've already made some important headway.
Most notably, this past August the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson began dosing in a Phase 2b study (REEF-1) of different combination regimens for the treatment of chronic HBV infection. It's our first-ever triple-combination hepatitis B study to be tested in Phase 2b of clinical development.
Stay tuned! We certainly hope to have more progress to report soon!
Ebola: Preventing Future Outbreaks
A few years ago, an Ebola outbreak gripped West Africa—Liberia especially—and made headlines internationally. The WHO officially proclaimed the outbreak "over" in 2015, but unfortunately, the story of Ebola in Africa doesn't end there.
In recent years, over 3,000 cases of Ebola, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths, have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), leading the WHO to declare it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) this past July.
Clearly, the time had come for bold action, and Johnson & Johnson led the way, announcing in October our plan to provide up to 700,000 regimens of our investigational Ebola vaccine to help protect the people of the DRC and neighboring Rwanda. The first batches have already shipped, and many more are slated to follow.
HIV: Leading the Charge For a Global Vaccine
We've been working to combat HIV for over 25 years at Johnson & Johnson—and we've made a lot of progress so far. To date, we’ve developed eight HIV medicines and partnered with communities and health systems around the world to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
What's more, we recently committed more than $500 million to accelerate global efforts to eliminate HIV and tuberculosis (TB) by 2030. In order to one day end HIV, however, we know that a vaccine is needed. After all, nearly two million people are newly diagnosed with the disease each year.
So that's what we're working on now: Mosaic, our Phase 3 efficacy trial. This first-of-its-kind study has the potential to advance a "global vaccine"—that is, a vaccine that could be used anywhere in the world—and we’re hopeful that our investigational HIV vaccine will break new ground!
Join Us to Innovate and Inspire Hope in the Year Ahead
In so many ways, 2019 was a year of extraordinary health breakthroughs at Johnson & Johnson, each one of them made possible by the insights, drive and dedication of our global teams. So if you're looking to inspire new hope—and make a positive impact in people's lives—check out all of the ways you can do so when you join the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies today.