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J. & J. Booster Protects Against Severe Omicron, Study Says

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A Johnson & Johnson booster shot offered robust safety towards the Omicron variant, vastly lowering the chance of hospitalization, in accordance with a scientific trial in South Africa.

The examine, which in contrast greater than 69,000 boosted well being care employees with a corresponding group of unvaccinated South Africans, discovered that two photographs of the vaccine diminished the chance of hospitalization from Omicron by about 85 p.c. In comparability, one other examine in South Africa discovered that two photographs of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine diminished the chance of hospitalization by about 70 p.c.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has licensed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a booster shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention beneficial that different vaccines be most well-liked. The C.D.C. raised considerations about uncommon however life-threatening blood clots which were linked to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

But the authors of the brand new examine, which was printed on a preprint server and has not but been peer-reviewed, mentioned that the outcomes had been essential for vaccination efforts in Africa, the place the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a mainstay of Covid public well being efforts. As the continent braces for a wave of Omicron circumstances, a second dose of the vaccine may forestall a surge of hospitalizations.

In a special scientific trial that led to September, when Delta was nonetheless the dominant variant worldwide, Johnson & Johnson discovered {that a} second dose of its vaccine given eight weeks after the primary vastly elevated its efficacy. In the U.S. arm of the trial, efficacy towards delicate to extreme Covid-19 rose to 94 p.c, in contrast with 74 p.c for one shot. Across trial websites in 10 international locations, the vaccine protected all volunteers towards extreme illness.

Those outcomes prompted South Africa to launch a trial in November amongst well being care employees who had already obtained one dose of the vaccine between six and 9 months earlier. When the Omicron variant started surging throughout South Africa in late November, the researchers working the trial started monitoring how boosted well being care employees fared towards the variant, discovering that it labored nicely.

This outcome was considerably stunning, provided that antibodies taken from individuals who had obtained one dose of the vaccine failed to dam Omicron from infecting cells in laboratory experiments.

It’s attainable that the booster photographs raised antibodies to protecting ranges. And whereas antibodies assist the physique fend off infections, they’re simply one in all many components of the immune system.

Certain immune cells assist battle Covid by attacking virus-infected cells. In a examine posted on-line on Tuesday, South African researchers discovered that immune cells taken from individuals who obtained Johnson & Johnson vaccines acknowledged Omicron-infected cells nearly in addition to they acknowledged cells contaminated with different variants.

It’s attainable that along with elevating antibodies, Johnson & Johnson booster photographs additionally improve the military of immune cells that may wage warfare on Omicron.