The company reported Wednesday that booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine caused a significant increase in antibodies, which are the first line immune system defenses against infection.
Johnson & Johnson reported that antibodies were nine times higher in people who received a booster six- to eight months after their first J&J shot.
According to the company, these data are based on two Phase 2 studies that were conducted in Europe and the United States. Six months after receiving their Janssen vaccine, some of the approximately 2,000 participants in the study received booster doses.
These interim data show that a booster dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong and rapid increase in spike binding antibodies, nine times greater than the 28-day period following the primary single-dose vaccination,” said the company in a statement.
“We have shown that one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine can generate strong, robust immune responses that last for eight months. These new data also show that a booster dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine increases antibody responses in study participants who have previously received the vaccine,” Dr. Mathai Mmmen, global head for research and development at Janssen, stated in a statement.
J&J stated that it is in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. J&J also mentioned that the European Medicines Agency, World Health Organization, and other health authorities are discussing the possibility of offering a booster Janssen vaccine.
Mammen said that they look forward to discussing a strategy with public health officials for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This could boost eight months, or more, after the initial single-dose vaccination.
Many who have received the J&J vaccine are frantically looking for information on whether they will require a booster shot. After data showing that boosters can increase the antibody response and after studies starting to show an increase in infections among both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, officials from the US Federal Government have indicated they will offer a booster dose. Experts believe that the more transmissible Delta variant and a declining immune response are partly to blame.
Janssen’s vaccine was approved at the end February, two months after Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccinations. According to the CDC, the J&J vaccine has been administered to approximately 14 million Americans.
Dr. Dan Barouch is a Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center vaccine researcher. He said that the results support the need for a booster shot but that it should be delayed.
Barouch stated that the six-month boost will be impressive and significantly greater than the two-month boost. This is significant because, in my view, the boost shouldn’t be at two months but should be at six or later.” Barouch said to CNN.
The studies did not look at the effectiveness of boosters in real-world situations. Therefore, the company cannot prove that people who receive boosters are less likely to contract severe diseases or become infected. Researchers are now beginning to accept that antibodies do indeed indicate immunity protection.
Pfizer and Moderna have different vaccines, but Johnson & Johnson’s is different. These vaccines contain messenger RNA (or mRNA) that is encased within small lipid particles to transmit instructions to the body for initiating an immune response.
Janssen vaccine uses an adenovirus, a crippled virus of the common cold to provide similar instructions. A booster dose of a virus vector vaccine could not be effective because the body might also produce an immune response.
“There was a theory that anti-vector antibodies could be generated by the first shot.
READ ALSO:Cuomo loses his Emmy Award
Federal health officials believe that a booster dose for the Janssen vaccine is necessary at some point.
Barouch stated that “I am quite certain that FDA, CDC and NIH will use these data in order to likely justify or recommend a booster J&J-vaccinated persons, probably with a second dose of J&J.”