(WXYZ) — Johnson & Johnson’s experimental one-shot vaccine for COVID-19 is showing promising results. According to recently published data, the vaccine spurred a long-lasting immune response.
It’s very good news so far. The phase 1 and phase 2 trials included just over 800 participants. There were two groups, one group was between the ages of 18 and 55 and the other group included people who were 65 and older. Now, many of the participants who were given the vaccine, which was about 90% of them, produced detectable neutralizing antibodies after 28 days. By day 57, everyone had detectable antibodies, and the antibodies were still detectable 71 days later. So this suggests that Johnson & Johnson’s experimental one-shot vaccine will likely work. But we really won’t know for sure until data from their phase 3 trial is released. Phase 3 is much larger and includes 45,000 participants. We expecting these results towards the end of the month or early in February.
When Johnson & Johnson first started, they were aiming for a 70% efficacy rate. Now that might seem low, especially since Pfizer and Moderna have set the bar high for vaccine efficacy rates. Pfizer is 95% effective and Moderna is 94.1%. But we’ve got to look back in time – back when government officials initially said that any vaccine with a 50% or higher efficacy rate would be considered a success. And that’s what Johnson & Johnson used as a benchmark - and they aimed higher. So will their one-shot vaccine be up in the 90s when it comes to protecting against COVID-19? Well, experts are thinking that it might be 80 to 85% effective against COVID-19, based on the early clinical data, which is still quite good. But we won’t really know until their phase 3 trial data is released.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have set the bar high. So naturally, Johnson & Johnson also wants a very effective vaccine, which is why they’re also conducting a separate trial that includes a second shot, a booster shot. So far early data shows that the second dose led to a three-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies. But as to how long they’ll last and how effective they’ll be remains unknown. Right now, participants are still being enrolled in this 2-dose trial, and we won’t likely see more concrete data until sometime in the summer.
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