Infectious Disease

J&J Booster produces a nine-fold increase in antibodies, the company says

August 25, 2021

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Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine resulted in a nine-fold increase in antibodies in clinical trial participants compared to levels seen 28 days after the initial vaccination.

The finding supports the use of a booster dose in people who had previously received the single dose, the company said.

Source: Adobe Stock.

New data from Johnson & Johnson supports the use of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose for those previously on the single-dose regimen. Source: Adobe Stock.

Previous data published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that a single dose of the vaccine produced potent activity against SARS-CoV-2, including against variants, for at least 8 months. However, like other manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines, Johnson & Johnson examined the effects of a booster dose in two Phase 1 / 2a studies.

According to a press release, preliminary data from these studies showed that a booster dose produced a “rapid and robust” increase in spike-binding antibodies nine times greater than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination.

The studies showed a significant increase in binding antibody responses in participants ages 18 to 55, as well as those aged 65 or older who received a lower booster dose, the company said.

The data was released a week after the Biden government announced it would provide booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to fully vaccinated Americans beginning September 20. The plan, as announced, calls for people to receive a booster dose of messenger RNA vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna 8 months after their second dose, despite US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, said people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also likely to need a booster shot.

Murthy said officials were waiting for upcoming data from Johnson & Johnson – presumably the results released Wednesday – before deciding whether to add the vaccine to the booster plan.

“With this new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses in subjects who previously received our vaccine.” Mathai Moms, MD, PhD, Global Head of Janssen Research & Development at Johnson & Johnson said in a press release. “We look forward to discussing with public health officials a possible strategy for our Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which is boosted 8 months or more after the primary single-dose vaccination.”

References:

Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson Announces Data to Help Promote Its Unique COVID-19 Vaccine. https://www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-announces-data-to-support-boosting-its-single-shot-covid-19-vaccine. Accessed on 08/25/2021.

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Sandra Adamson Fryhofer MD, MACP

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson “one dose and ready” vector viral vaccine, the data published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing a sustained strong immune response 8 months after vaccination is encouraging. The preprint publication of the company’s study of an additional dose that boosts the immune response is also encouraging. The vaccine has been linked to thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal side effect. The safety of a second dose must also be checked.

Currently, additional doses of mRNA vaccine are only recommended for immunocompromised patients who have received a two-dose series of mRNAs – so those receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will remain in the dark as to what to do.

How this will affect immunocompromised adults who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not yet clear. However, because the vaccine was approved much later, the number of immunocompromised patients who might have received it is likely to be small. I look forward to the Advisory Committee on Vaccination Practices reviewing these studies and their possible implications for future recommendations.

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer MD, MACP

AMA liaison with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC

Member of the ACIP COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group

Disclosure: Fryhofer does not disclose any relevant financial information.

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