J&J vaccine effective in preventing severe disease; a mother's COVID-19 antibodies may protect newborns

PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration


Johnson & Johnson vaccine 66% effective in global trial

REUTERS -  Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe COVID-19 in a late-stage global trial with nearly 44,000 volunteers that includes regions with worrisome variants of the virus, the company said on Friday.

Protection levels 28 days after vaccination varied from 72% in the United States, to 66% in Latin America and just 57% in South Africa, where a potent new variant has become prevalent. Two-dose vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were around 95% effective in pivotal trials. But those were conducted before the highly transmissible new variants emerged.

"Right now, any protection and additional vaccine is great," said Walid Gellad, a health policy associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh who was not involved in the trial. "The key is not only overall efficacy but specifically efficacy against severe disease, hospitalization, and death."

In a news release, J&J said its vaccine was 85% effective in stopping severe disease and preventing hospitalization across all geographies and against multiple variants. The vaccine uses a common cold virus to introduce coronavirus proteins into cells and trigger an immune response. The company plans to seek emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week.

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