A booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine sharply increased the levels of antibodies, the company said on Wednesday.
People who received a second dose of the J&J vaccine after the initial jab saw antibodies spike nine-fold higher than a month after the first dose, according to interim data from the company’s two early-stage trials.
The company’s findings, which are yet to go through scientific peer review, could justify a booster shot after eight months for those who previously received a J&J vaccine.
According to J&J, the studies showed significant increases in binding antibody responses in participants aged 18-55 and in those 65 years and older who received a lower booster dose.
The results were released ahead of long-awaited results from J&J’s large, two-dose vaccine trial.
J&J published interim Phase 1/2a data in the New England Journal of Medicine last month that showed neutralizing antibodies generated by its vaccine remained stable eight months after immunization with a single dose.
“We have established that a single shot of our COVID-19 vaccine generates strong and robust immune responses that are durable and persistent through eight months,” Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J’s Janssen pharma division, said in a statement.
“With these new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses among study participants who had previously received our vaccine.”
The new data released by the company on Wednesday will likely help inform recommendations from health authorities about if, and when, J&J booster shots are needed.
There hasn’t been any previous evidence about the effect of a booster shot of the J&J vaccine.
The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have so far only given the green light for booster shots for immunocompromised people who received either Pfizer or Moderna.
“We look forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy for our Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, boosting eight months or longer after the primary single-dose vaccination,” Mammen said.
The company said it is working with the CDC, FDA and other global health agencies about potentially delivering a J&J booster shot.
It comes as the White House on Tuesday said it was moving “aggressively” to roll out booster shots this fall to Americans amid the spread of the Delta variant — despite not yet receiving clearance from the Food and Drug and Administration to give everyone third doses.
With Post wires
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