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J&J says its Covid vaccine booster generated promising immune response in early trials

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A man receives an injection of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a beachside pop-up vaccination center in South Beach, Florida on May 9, 2021.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | AFP | Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday that a booster of its Covid-19 vaccine had generated a promising immune system in early-stage clinical trials – although the information the company provided in a press release is light on certain details.

J & J’s vaccine requires only one dose and recipients are considered fully immunized two weeks after receiving the vaccine. The company said Wednesday that recipients of J&J who received a booster dose of the vaccine generated anti-virus antibodies “nine times higher” than those seen four weeks after a single dose.

Increases in antibody responses were seen in vaccine trial participants aged 18 to 55, the company said, and in those 65 and older who received a lower dose of the booster.

The results are based on two Phase 1/2 studies, according to the company.

“We have established that a single injection of our COVID-19 vaccine generates strong and robust immune responses that are long-lasting and persistent for eight months,” said Dr Mathai Mammen, head of research and development of the vaccines branch. Janssen of J&J, in a statement. .

“With this new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses in study participants who had previously received our vaccine,” he added. .

While the new data is promising, the company’s press release made no mention of the potential impact of the booster injections on the delta variant or on safety.

When asked about the data on delta, J&J referred CNBC to a report in July that showed that a single dose of the vaccine elicited a promising immune response to the variant.

It also raises questions about why J&J recipients need booster shots – especially after the July report showed that a single shot of his vaccine confers immunity that lasts at least eight months and appears to be provide adequate protection against the fast-spreading delta variant.

True, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said recipients of J&J will likely need a booster dose, but added that they currently do not have enough data to support a formal recommendation.

The company said on Wednesday it was engaging with the Food and Drug Administration and other health authorities regarding the booster injections.

J&J did not immediately respond to additional questions from CNBC on these matters.

The new data comes less than a week after J&J announced that Alex Gorsky was stepping down as CEO. Gorsky, 61, who served as chief executive officer for nine years, will become executive chairman.


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