Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigational pharmacy technician Sara Berech prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for a clinical trial on December 15, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be submitted for emergency use by late January and is the only vaccine among leading candidates given as a single dose.

Johnson & Johnson announced today (August 25) that studies show that a booster shot of its vaccine provides a “rapid and robust increase” in COVID-19 antibodies when used on people who have already received its first dose.

According to NBC News, the data showed people who already had been given the J&J vaccine experienced a nine-fold increase in “spike-binding” antibodies via trial participants ages 18-55, the pharmaceutical company said in a statement. The study was done early in anticipation of the need for boosters.

The findings have been submitted to the medical pre-print publication MedRxiv, a scholarly-backed site that distributes complete but unpublished manuscripts in the areas of medicine, clinical research, and related health sciences.

Mathai Mammen, global head of Janssen Research & Development at Johnson & Johnson, said the company was looking “forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy” for deploying a J&J booster shot.

Johnson & Johnson said it was “engaging” with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the European Medicines Agency (Europe’s main regulator in charge of the evaluation and supervision of medicinal products), and the World Health Organization, about using its shot as a booster.

Boosters are being planned in the United States as early as the fall for those who got the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines, as the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases by 50% after six months.

Johnson & Johnson says that neutralizing antibody responses from its single-shot dose have been shown to hold up for eight months after immunization. Experts say that the evidence suggests the vaccine appears to be doing its primary job of keeping Covid patients out of hospitals and morgues.

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