BOSTON (State House News Service) — As the Delta variant of COVID-19 gains a greater foothold in the United States and fuels the continuing global pandemic, Johnson & Johnson announced that its one-shot vaccine generates antibodies that not only defend against the virus and other concerning mutants but also become stronger with time.
The company said in a Thursday press release that its vaccine "generated strong, persistent activity against the rapidly spreading Delta variant and other highly prevalent SARS-CoV-2 viral variants." That immune response -- "including CD8+ T-cells that seek out and destroy infected cells," the company said, pointing to data from a study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center -- remains durable for at least eight months, the length of the study, and actually gains some strength, the study found.
"Current data for the eight months studied so far show that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time. In addition, we observe a persistent and particularly robust, durable cellular immune response," Mathai Mammen, global head of Janssen research and development, said.
Federal public health officials have said the more transmissible Delta variant is now responsible for about one in every four cases of COVID-19 in America. It has led other countries to reimpose restrictions and is the reason the World Health Organization urges vaccinated people to continue wearing masks, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says it is unnecessary.
Studies published in recent weeks have reported that the mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer are effective against the Delta variant, and Thursday night's announcement from Johnson & Johnson provides reassurance for the 276,430 people who have gotten the one-shot J&J vaccine in Massachusetts as of Thursday's state update.
That's about 6.5 percent of the 4.22 million people who got fully vaccinated here.
Written by Colin A. Young/SHNS