A team of experts has found that the COVID19 shot that has been developed by Johnson & Johnson might be less efficient against the Delta variant that has been identified in India for the first time during the second wave of the pandemic as compared to the original strain of coronavirus. Health experts have said that the single-dose vaccine might not be highly effective against the Lambda variant as well. The Lambda strain has been found in Peru for the first time, it is known as the C.37 strain. The findings of the study have shown that nearly 13 million people who have been given the Johnson & Johnson shot might require getting a second dose as well. The authors of the study have said that these recipients might need to be given one of the mRNA shots such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots. However, the findings of the study differ from small-scale studies that have been published by Johnson & Johnson early this month. These smaller studies have shown a single dose of their vaccine is quite efficient against the Delta strain even eight months after vaccination. The findings of the study have not been reviewed yet neither has it been released in any scientific journal. The new study has completely relied on only lab experiments. Many experts have said that the findings of the study are similar to the observations that a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine has a similar molecular structure to the Johnson & Johnson shot. Experts have said that a single dose of AstraZeneca shot is only 33 percent effective against symptomatic COVID19 disease that is led by the Delta variant.
The lead author of the study, Nathaniel Landau has said that the findings of the study do not show that people should not receive the Johnson & Johnson shot; however, experts expect that people will be given a booster shot of a second dose either of Johnson & Johnson shot or a booster shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Nathaniel Landau is a virologist at the Grossman School of Medicine of New York University. Scientists who have not been involved in the study have said that the findings are the same as what they have expected that all COVID19 shots appear to be effective when they are given in two doses. A virus expert, John Moore, who is working at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, has said that he has always thought the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a two-dose shot. John Moore has said that many clinical trials on monkeys and humans have shown that two doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can develop a higher level of protection against the virus as compared to the single dose of the shot. He has said that the outcomes of the new study are more reliable as it has been done by an independent team of experts without any association with any of the vaccine makers. Seema Kumar who has been involved in the Johnson & Johnson studies has said that the data of the new study do not show the full nature of immune protection derived from the single dose of the shot. The Johnson & Johnson studies have been funded by the company itself. The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky has said that the Delta strain is one of the most infectious variants of coronavirus. It contributes to 83 percent of all COVID19 cases in the US.
Many health experts have said that the Delta strain might be the reason behind rising COVID19 infections in the United States. However, the rate of infection in the US is still low as compared to the last winter. COVID19 cases are increasing in all 50 states in the US. The number of hospitalization as well is rising in almost all states. Last week, the country has recorded 268 deaths per day on average. Many studies have shown that mRNA shots such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna continue to be effective against all variants of coronavirus so far. A recent study has revealed these vaccines can lead to a constant immune reaction that can prevent coronavirus infection for years. There have been very little data on Johnson & Johnson shot as it has been used on people much later than the mRNA shots. Most research on the efficiency of the COVID19 shots has been done at medical centers and hospitals. Experts have used samples that have been taken from health care providers who have been given mRNA shots and have been working in these medical centers and hospitals. Earlier, the US government has halted the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to reports of blood clotting and a rare but severe neurological syndrome. There have been reports of contamination as well at a manufacturing plant of the Johnson & Johnson shot in Baltimore. Small studies that have been funded by the Johnson & Johnson have noted the single dose of their vaccine is only slightly less efficient against the Delta variant as compared to the original strain. Experts have said that the strength of antibodies that are triggered by the shot will grow in eight months after inoculation. John Moore has said that initially the Johnson & Johnson shot has been less effective as compared to the mRNA vaccines and the efficiency of the shot has reduced against the Delta and Lambda strains of coronavirus over time. Akiko Iwasaki, who is an immunologist at Yale University, has said that there are few shots that are given as a single dose because two doses of the COVID19 shot are essential to increase antibody levels. He has said that people who have been given the Johnson & Johnson shot depend upon the primary response to retain high levels of antibodies.