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Johnson & Johnson

This is one of the COVID-19 vaccines. 


Active ingredients:

This vaccine uses a version of adenovirus that is modified so that it cannot replicate or make you sick. This modified virus contains genetic material that encodes the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

Your body uses this genetic information to create the spike protein, which cannot cause disease on its own, but it acts as an antigen and teaches your body how to respond if it is exposed to the virus in the future. This protein is displayed on the surface of the cell, which prompts the immune system to create antibodies that protect you from future infections.

Inactive ingredients:

Salts: help maintain the stability and pH of the vaccine

Acids: improve the stability of the vaccine


Relevant Terms

  • Adenoviruses: a common family of viruses. These viruses can cause cold-like symptoms, conjunctivitis (pink eye), sore throat, and other symptoms. The version used in adenovirus vector vaccines is not able to cause these symptoms and cannot replicate. 

  • Adenovirus vector: a version of an adenovirus that cannot replicate or cause disease. In this vaccine, it is used to deliver genetic information so that the body can make the spike protein.

  • Antibody: a protein made by the immune system in response to a foreign particle (antigen). These proteins circulate in the blood and help defend the body against the substance.

  • Anticoagulant: a medicine that prevents blood from clotting too easily. Clotting is very important because it prevents people from bleeding too much if they get injured, but if blood clots too easily, it can harden and get stuck in the body. If a blood clot gets stuck, it can cause heart attacks, strokes, and other dangerous conditions. 

  • Antigen: This is any substance that triggers the immune system to create antibodies. For example, allergens such as pollen are antigens.

  • Emulsifier: a substance that helps to keep the ingredients mixed together

  • pH: a measure of how acidic or basic a solution is. The scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic). A pH of 7 is neutral.

  • Spike protein: the protein in SARS-CoV-2 that allows the virus to recognize and attach to host cells.

  • Viral vector: a version of a virus that has been modified to contain genetic information from another source (in this case, the genetic information to make the spike protein). 

Relevant terms


Last updated: Feb. 18, 2023

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