Fresh data from two early stage trials show that the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine booster shot can sharply increase the levels of antibodies.
The J&J Company said a second dose of the United States Company’s single-dose vaccine resulted in binding antibody levels nine times higher than the levels 28 days after people received their first dose.
“Unlike neutralizing antibodies, which destroy the virus, binding antibodies attach to the virus but do not destroy it or prevent infection. Instead, they alert the immune system of its presence so white blood cells can be sent to destroy it.”
The fresh details come as several countries, including the US, Israel and Italy start offering booster doses of other vaccines to their vulnerable individuals.
There has previously been no evidence about the effect of a booster dose of the 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.
In July, J&J published data in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed neutralising antibodies generated by its vaccine remained stable eight months after immunisation with a single dose.
“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,” Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J’s Janssen pharma division, said in a statement.
“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.”
Several scientists have raised concerns that individuals who got the J&J shot would need boosters.
J&J said the company is working with the CDC, the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, the World Health Organization and other health authorities about delivering a booster shot.