J&J, two other shots weaker against Omicron -study

Another setback for J&J. A study showed COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson as well as China’s Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik V had no neutralizing activity against the Omicron variant.

By contrast, the study done by the University of Washington, a unit of Vir Biotechnology and others also found that shots from Moderna, Astrazeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech, retained activity against the latest variant. But the antibody response was much less than with the original strain.

The study has not yet been peer reviewed.

It has been a challenging time for J&J. The news comes just one day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans get Moderna’s or Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines over J&J’s due to a rare but sometimes fatal cases of blood-clotting. What’s more, its vaccine has the lowest uptake in the U.S. Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson encountered quality issues at a plant that produces its single-dose vaccine.

As for the Russian vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said in a statement the Sputnik vaccine induces what it called a “robust neutralizing” antibody response to the Omicron variant, citing a preliminary study by the Gamaleya Center.

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