More US states are near record high Covid-19 hospitalization levels

A health service prepares a dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from a vial outside a polling station in Laudium, Pretoria, on November 1, 2021, during local elections in South Africa. (Phill Magakoe / AFP / Getty Images)

Two reports released Thursday show that people who receive booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine are well protected against serious illness and hospitalization from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the company said.

Data from an actual study from South Africa showed vaccine efficacy against Covid-19 hospitalization increased to 85% after a booster dose of the J&J vaccine, even after circulation of the Omicron variant . And data from a laboratory study in the United States indicated that the vaccine stimulates a strong immune response from cells called T cells, which protect people from serious illnesses even if they do not completely prevent the virus from infecting. the body.

The results of both studies were released by the company in a statement, but are subject to a pre-print server and peer-reviewed journal, the company said.

A team from the South African Medical Research Council helped review the results of an ongoing J&J vaccine study there. They looked at the results of 69,000 healthcare workers. “When a booster was given six to nine months after a primary single dose, vaccine efficacy increased over time from 63% at 0-13 days, 84% at 14-27 days, and 85% at 1-2 months after the booster. “J&J said in a statement.

“Before even taking into account the increased infectivity of Omicron, we must remember that frontline healthcare workers are at a significantly increased risk of being affected by COVID-19 in the first place,” Dr Glenda Gray, SAMRC president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are therefore encouraged to see that strengthening with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine regimen offers strong protection in a difficult real-world setting where there is a high risk of exposure – not only to COVID-19, but to highly transmissible ones. . Omicron variant.

Separately, Dr. Dan Barouch and his colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston examined blood drawn from 65 vaccinated volunteers and tested it against the Omicron variant. They looked at both antibodies – the first line of defense against infection – and T cells.

Using the J&J vaccine as a booster for people who had initially received two doses of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine resulted in a 41-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies and a five-fold increase in CD8 killer T cells which destroy cells infected with the virus. This prevents the virus from replicating and spreading. The booster with the Pfizer vaccine generated a 17-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies and a 1.4-fold increase in CD8 T cells four weeks later, they found.

“This data is important and this data is hopeful,” Barouch told CNN. They indicate that all Covid-19 vaccines can protect people against serious illness and death, even against the Omicron variant with all of its mutations, he said.

Carol N. Valencia