J&J’s vaccine shows promise against Delta variant

Company reports ‘neutralising activity’ against fast-spreading variant

The World Health Organisation has said Delta is becoming the globally dominant variant of Covid-19, raising concerns over whether existing vaccines will work against it. Photograph: AFP via Getty

The World Health Organisation has said Delta is becoming the globally dominant variant of Covid-19, raising concerns over whether existing vaccines will work against it. Photograph: AFP via Getty

 

Johnson & Johnson said its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine showed promise against the highly contagious Delta variant in a laboratory study.

An analysis of blood from eight patients showed that immune responses elicited by the vaccine against the Delta variant, first identified in India, were at a higher level than against the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa.

The World Health Organisation has said Delta is becoming the globally dominant variant of Covid-19, raising concerns over whether existing vaccines will work against it.

So far, preliminary data has shown that vaccines made by Pfizer and BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna are largely protective against Delta, with the concentration of virus-neutralizing antibodies being somewhat reduced.

“We believe that our vaccine offers durable protection against Covid-19 and elicits neutralising activity against the Delta variant,” Johnson & Johnson chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels said.

Boosters

Disease experts believe the J&J’s vaccine may require booster shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to be more effective against the Delta variant. In the Republic, the J&J vaccine is due to be administered to the 18-34 age group beginning on Monday.

J&J has submitted the data as a preprint to the website bioRxiv, a free online archive of unpublished clinical studies, ahead of peer review.

Data from a separate study also showed that immune response for recipients of the vaccine lasted at least eight months.

“The single-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time,” Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J’s drugs business, said. – Reuters