Corona / Omikron: Johnson booster against the variant

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A woman is vaccinated against the coronavirus with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. © Gregor Fischer / dpa

A study from South Africa arrives at a surprising result concerning the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Omikron.

Cape Town – Could this be another building block to combat Omikron’s new corona variant? Because no one would have expected the preliminary results of a South African study. They indicate a high efficacy of a booster vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against serious diseases caused by Omikron. J & J’s vector vaccine, which, unlike vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna or Astrazeneca, requires only a single dose for vaccination, offers 85% protection against hospitalization for omicron infection when it is administered twice. The South African Medical Research Council announced Thursday.

Booster with Johnson & Johnson: High protection against Omicron found

For its study, the state committee compared 69,000 medical staff who had received two doses of J&J with a group of people who had not been vaccinated. The investigation took place between November 15 and December 20, that is, at a time when the proportion of corona infections with the Omicron variant in South Africa rose from 82 to 98%.

The study, which has not yet been reviewed by outside scientists in a peer review process, also provides information on how the effects of the booster vaccination play out. Its effectiveness against hospitalization for omicron infection was 63 percent in the first two weeks after the second dose of vaccination, but one to two months after the booster it was 85 percent.

Video: What to watch out for when boosting

Johnson & Johnson retains the protective effect for a long time – good results thanks to the cellular immune response?

The vector vaccine from the American company Johnson & Johnson is of particular interest to the African continent because of its logistical advantages. The study authors accordingly commented that their results were significant as Africa increasingly relies on the J&J vaccine. J&J scientist Mathai Mammen said the study shows the vaccine “remains strong and stable over time, even against circulating variants like Omikron and Delta.”

Previous lab studies had shown that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was less likely to stimulate the production of antibodies that neutralize the coronavirus against Omikron than mRNA vaccines like that from Biontech / Pfizer. The fact that the J&J vaccine apparently works better in the human body than one thinks could be due to an increased reaction from another part of the human immune system, the so-called cellular immune response.

Corona: J&J boosters apparently work better than a third box from Biontech

A small study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston also indicates that a booster vaccination with the J&J vaccine after two doses of the Biontech / Pfizer vaccine could offer more protection against serious illnesses of Covid-19 than three Biontech / Pfizer -Cans. After three doses of Biontech / Pfizer, the antibodies increased significantly, but fell again within a few weeks.

After a booster vaccination against J&J, however, the antibody level was significantly higher after four weeks, the study authors described. However, only 65 subjects were involved in the study. (md with AFP)

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