Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant Company


The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant even eight months after vaccination — a finding that should reassure the 11 million Americans who get the vaccine, the company reported on Thursday.

The company said the vaccine showed a small decrease in potency against the variant compared to its effectiveness against the original virus. However, the vaccine was more effective against the Delta variant than the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa – the pattern also seen in mRNA vaccines.

The researchers also reported that the antibodies induced by the vaccine grew stronger over time.

The results were announced in a news release, and the company said both studies were made available online on Thursday. One of these studies has been accepted for publication in a scientific journal. Both studies were small, and the researchers said they published the results early because of the high public interest.

A virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Dr. “The scope of variants will be better than people expect,” said Dan Barouch. “There was a lot of misinformation that was spreading, so we decided we needed to make it public immediately.”

Intense rhetoric about the threat from Delta has left even vaccinated people feeling anxious about whether they are being protected. The variant, first identified in India, is much more contagious than previous versions of the virus, and its global spread has led to new health restrictions from Ireland to Malaysia.

In the United States, the variant now accounts for one in four new infections. Public health officials said the vaccines allowed in the United States work against all available variants, but the data is mostly based on studies of mRNA vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

This means that some people who get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine say, “What about us?

Frustration was mounting even before the Delta variant appeared. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that vaccinated people can leave mask-wearing indoors in many cases, for example, was mostly based on data on mRNA vaccines. And on the Yankees baseball team, J.&J. the vaccine did nothing to allay fears that the vaccine might be inferior to the others.

Martha Young, 63, of Mountain View, California, J.&J. Taken on April 9th. It wasn’t his first choice, but it was what was offered. But since then, he said, “I’ve been very, very frustrated by the lack of information.”

He added, citing J.&J. “I felt like I wasn’t counting, like I was statistically insignificant because so few of us didn’t have to worry about us.”

Some people vaccinated with J.&J. complained that they felt cheated by experts who said the vaccines were all equally good. “I was surprised to see others make this claim,” said Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at the University of Florida. “I didn’t like it. People don’t want to feel misled.”

But other experts said clinical trials should be clear on J.&J.’s effectiveness. vaccine was inferior to mRNA vaccines. “Seventy-two percent, certainly less than 95 or 94 percent,” said Florian Krammer, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

Part of the challenge of comparing vaccines is that they have all been tested individually and with different measures of success. While the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna trials were designed to calculate symptomatic infections, J.&J. The trial evaluated the vaccine’s ability to prevent moderate to severe infections.

Still, Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London, said all vaccines are far more effective at keeping people out of the intensive care unit and morgue than scientists originally hoped.

“It’s like fighting over whether you want to own a Ferrari or Porsche that goes 150 miles per hour or 180 miles per hour on a street where you’re only allowed to go 30 miles per hour,” he said.

There are differences though: J.&J. The vaccine could allow for more so-called breakthrough infections – which occur in people who are fully vaccinated – with mild or no symptoms than mRNA vaccines.

John Moore, a virologist, said that people with asymptomatic infections are most likely to spread the virus, but when routine tests pick them up — as in the case of the Yankees cluster — their diagnosis can become an issue and they should be quarantined. at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

Information about J.&J.’s activity. The vaccine has been slow to arrive because it was later released and discontinued due to concerns about rare blood clots. Many medical centers and hospitals offered mRNA vaccines to staff early on and were able to establish studies evaluating these vaccines.

But blood samples from people vaccinated with J.&J. Dr. Krammer said the vaccine is a relatively rare commodity. “Nobody cares or we’re hiding something because the vaccine isn’t good,” he said. “This is more of an access issue.”

In the absence of data, some experts J.&J. The vaccine probably did as well against the Delta variant as the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is widely used in Europe. However, this vaccine is given as two doses compared to a single dose of J.&J.

“What I never quite understood about J.&J. Dr. The technology platforms are essentially very, very similar – almost indistinguishable from AstraZeneca,” Altmann said. “Should it really be a two-dose vaccine like everything else?”

A single dose offers advantages for people with limited access or who do not want two doses for other reasons. J. & J. The vaccine also lasts longer than others when refrigerated and was a welcome option early in the pandemic when vaccines were scarce.

But after the emergence of variants such as Beta and Delta that partially disable the immune system, J.&J. buyers concentrated. One dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is much less effective against variants than two doses, and experts J.&J. Shooting may be similar.

The new study addressed some of these concerns. Researchers monitored immune responses in volunteers 29 and 239 days after the initial vaccination. Ten of the study participants received just one dose of J.&J. vaccine, 10 others received a second dose of J.&J. shot or an mRNA vaccine.

While blood antibody levels produced after vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna fell after the first surge, J.&J. The researchers found that the vaccine remained at high levels. (But other studies have shown that immune responses produced by mRNA vaccines can also take years.)

Second dose of J.&J. The vaccine further increased antibody levels. While the numbers in each group were too small to be statistically significant, an mRNA booster raised them even higher.

Eight months after J.&J. vaccination, participants’ antibodies also turned out to be more effective against the variants than the one-month mark. One participant who took a single dose contracted the coronavirus.

Lack of information on the immune response to J.&J. The vaccine had caused many people to speculate that they might need a second shot, a dose of mRNA vaccine. But the new findings, at least for now, are in J.&J. The vaccine does not need a booster.

Dr. Nor can they legally get it, unless they “play the system, pretend to be naive about the vaccine, and go get an mRNA vaccine and essentially lie,” Moore said. “And I definitely don’t recommend people do that.”


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