In a new study, researchers report that a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has shown very strong results in early clinical trials.
The vaccine produced an immune response of all 805 people within two months of inoculation.
The findings are encouraging because they show robust neutralizing antibodies after a single dose in a younger population and in a population older than 65 years old and because these responses persisted for at least 71 days.
The research was conducted by a team at Mayo Clinic.
The new vaccine is made up of a deactivated cold virus into which scientists cut-and-paste a genetic version of the “spike” protein used by the coronavirus to infect cells.
The immune system recognizes the incomplete and harmless coronavirus protein as an invader and mounts a response, learning how to ward off any future infections from the actual coronavirus.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines rely on mRNA technology that works in much the same way but delivers the genetic coding in an oily bubble that requires freezing temperatures and delicate handling.
In the study, the team tested 805 participants in two groups, one featuring folks aged 18 to 55 and the other 65 and older.
More than 90% of participants mounted an immune response within a month, and all had levels of neutralizing antibodies by day 57.
A second dose of the vaccine more than doubled the amounts of neutralizing antibodies, the results showed.
It will result from phase 3 clinical trials involving 45,000 participants that determine whether a single dose or two doses actually create lasting immune protection against COVID-19.
The team says it’s very possible that the single-dose will work, but it’s not uncommon for vaccinations to require a booster. If this is slightly better with a booster, it would be worth getting the second shot.
Early results from the phase 3 trials are expected by the end of January, Johnson & Johnson has said.
One author of the study is Dr. Andrew Badley, the director of the Mayo Clinic’s HIV Immunology Laboratory.
The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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