Small study questions efficacy of J&J vaccine against delta variant

A new study questions the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Delta variant.
A new study questions the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Delta variant. Photo credit Getty Images

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective against the dominant delta variant than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, a new study found.

The small study conducted by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine was published this week, analyzing the levels of neutralizing antibodies produced by 36 people — 12 who had received the J&J vaccine, 12 who had received the Pfizer vaccine and 12 who had received Moderna.

The study found that recipients of the J&J vaccine produce less neutralizing antibodies, however, the decreased level still may be enough to protect them against emerging coronavirus variants.

"The takeaway is that all of the vaccines work very well," lead author of the study, Nathaniel Landau, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "But we believe it should be considered or thought about for the J&J, which is a single shot, whether it would be even better if there was a second shot to go with it."

In response to Landau’s findings, Johnson & Johnson told the newspaper that "the data (of the new study) do not speak to the full nature of immune protection" that has been seen in previous interim studies.

Johnson & Johnson added that "company data demonstrated the J&J single-shot COVID-19 vaccine generated strong, persistent activity against the rapidly spreading delta variant and other highly prevalent SARS-CoV-2 viral variants."

The study has not been peer-reviewed.