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Beth Israel researcher wins $200,000 award for helping to create COVID vaccine for J&J

Dan Barouch is being honored by the King Faisal Foundation, based in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Dan Barouch runs the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/file

Dr. Dan Barouch, who runs the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine for Johnson & Johnson, has been named a winner of a prize from a Saudi Arabian foundation for his efforts.

Barouch, one of two winners of the King Faisal Prize for medicine from the King Faisal Foundation based in Riyadh, will receive $200,000 and a gold medallion. The other award recipient was Dame Sarah Gilbert, a vaccine expert in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University in England, who led the development of another COVID vaccine marketed by AstraZeneca.

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Both vaccines rely on similar technology. They use a genetically modified version of the virus that causes the common cold and carries the genetic code into the human body to produce the spike protein on the coronavirus. That stimulates antibodies and memory cells to protect against COVID infection.

The US Food and Drug Administration cleared the J&J vaccine in February 2021 after regulators authorized messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. But it has only played a small role in preventing the illness in the United States.

US residents have received some 692 million primary and booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, while less than 19 million have received the J&J shot. The King Faisal Foundation, however, said the J&J vaccine has been administered to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, particularly in less developed countries.


Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.