With the rise in infectious rate of the Covid-19 Delta variant in South Africa and East Africa, Johnson & Johnson has come out to assure that a single dose of its vaccine can neutralise the virus. The company assured that its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine neutralises “the fast-spreading COVID-19 Delta variant” that is currently wreaking havoc in South Africa. The company has also said that the vaccine provides broad, durable protection against infection from the virus.

J&J said in a statement that recipients of its vaccine produced strong neutralising antibodies over the course of at least eight months against all known variants, including Delta, which was first catalogued in India and has since been spreading across Earth.

According to the company, the shot neutralised the Delta variant within 29 days of a first dose, with protection maturing and improving over time. Data released by the company shows that antibody counts, known as titres, were substantially higher in response to the Delta variant than the Beta variant first detected in South Africa.

COVID-19 Delta is expected to become the dominant strain in the US in the coming weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to News24, the J&J jab provides less protection initially than messenger RNA vaccines like those from Pfizer or Moderna, with experts long discussing whether or not some people will need booster shots of the J&J vaccine for longer-term protection.

Speaking on the development, Johan Van Hoof, J&J’s global head of infectious diseases and vaccines said that, “We’re extremely happy, actually, and confident there’s no need for the booster at the moment and we’re protected against different strains,” Van Hoof appears to be confident in the single-dose vaccine with this new information, saying “And if a boost is needed, we don’t think we’ll need to change the formulation.”

The findings that Johnson & Johnson disclosed were from two different studies. The company evaluated blood samples from 8 participants in its late-stage clinical trial of the vaccine to assess whether neutralising antibodies protected against COVID-19 Delta. The company has said that more robust results will be published in bioRxiv, an online research repository.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines have struggled to reach populations more broadly amidst production problems as well as a pause in use following investigated reports that some people suffered dangerous blood clots after receiving it. The pause was lifted after ten days on 23 April.

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