Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that new data from early trials of a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine provides a "rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies" that fight off the virus.
In a press release, the company noted that the antibody response provided by the single-shot vaccine was "strong and stable" eight months later. However, eyes are turning to booster shots as widespread vaccine use nears the one-year mark.
In its press release, Johnson & Johnson noted that a person who gets a booster shot saw a nine-fold increase in antibodies when compared to antibody response 28 days after an initial dose.
"With these new data, we also see that a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine further increases antibody responses among study participants who had previously received our vaccine," said Dr. Mathai Mammen, the global head of Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson. "We look forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy for our Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, boosting eight months or longer after the primary single-dose vaccination."
Earlier this month, top federal health officials recommended that Americans seek out a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after full vaccination. The booster shot program is slated to begin Sept. 20, pending approval from the Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In issuing a recommendation for booster shots, officials said that while all COVID-19 vaccines remain extremely effective in preventing instances of severe infection or death from the virus, there has been some data to show that those vaccinated are more susceptible to mild cases of the virus eight months after vaccination. They've also seen evidence that those vaccinated are more susceptible to unknowingly spreading the virus as time goes on.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was granted emergency use authorization in late February, meaning booster shots for those who received the J&J vaccine would be available in late October if the FDA and the CDC ultimately approve them.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine still only has emergency use approval from the FDA. Earlier this week, the agency granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine — the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive such a designation.