Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine produced virtually no antibody protection against the omicron coronavirus variant in a laboratory experiment, underlining the new strain’s ability to get around one pillar of the body’s defenses. The vaccine appears to provide some defense against omicron, perhaps via other means such as stimulation of immune cells, according to Penny Moore, a South African virologist.
The as-yet unpublished research Moore presented to an African health conference ties in with early experiments by South Africa’s Africa Health Research Institute and Pfizer’s own research. Omicron’s discovery was announced by South African scientists on Nov. 25. Still, Moore stressed, the body has other protection against the virus. “Reduced antibody titers will likely result in decreased ability
Still, Moore stressed, the body has other protection against the virus. “Reduced antibody titers will likely result in decreased ability of vaccines to prevent infection but protection against severe disease likely to be preserved,” she said on one of her presentation slides. J&J’s vaccine appears to be preventing severe disease in a study involving hundreds of thousands of South African health workers yet nobody has yet died from the Omicron variant.