Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Shown Less Effective Against Variants

A study suggests Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective against the emerging variants of the coronavirus.

Researchers at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine reached the conclusion after conducting laboratory testing of blood samples from volunteers.

Nathaniel Landau, the lead researcher, said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not provide the same protection against the variants as either the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which were developed differently, using the messenger RNA method.

The study, posted online Tuesday, has not been peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal, and does not reflect the real-world effects of the vaccine. But the findings are similar to other studies that show single-dose vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca do not produce enough antibodies to fight the delta and lambda coronavirus variants.

The delta variant, which was first detected in India, reportedly spreads more easily than other iterations of the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said delta now accounts for 83% of new cases in the nation.

Johnson & Johnson recently published a study that shows a single dose of its vaccine is effective against the delta variant for up to eight months.

But Landau says the results of the NYU study bolster the growing theory that a follow-up shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is necessary.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been plagued with problems since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine has been linked to a rare but serious blood-clotting disorder, plus a rare neurological condition. Millions of doses were ruined earlier this year when a Baltimore-based manufacturing plant mixed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with ingredients from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported that there are 191.4 million total confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world, including 4.1 million global fatalities as of Wednesday.

South Korean health officials reported a new single-day record of 1,784 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday as the country struggles to contain a wave of infections linked to the delta variant, with more than 1,000 new cases recorded each day for the past two weeks.

The surge has been centered mainly in the capital, Seoul, which has been put under a variety of restrictions and more cases have been reported outside the city.

South Korea has recorded 182,265 total coronavirus cases, including 2,060 deaths.  Only 32% of the country’s 52 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 6.6 million fully vaccinated.

Health officials are also dealing with an outbreak on a naval warship that has been patrolling the waters off the coast of Africa that has sickened at least 270 crewmen.

(Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.)
 

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