Johnson & Johnson says its vaccine appears to protect against COVID-19 with just one shot. It’s not as strong as some two-shot rivals, but it's still potentially helpful for a world in dire need of more doses. (Jan. 29)
JESSE GOODMAN: So I think that's a favorable impact. It, together with the fact that this could be given at one dose, it offers another important tool for helping to control this pandemic. It's hard to directly compare, but there is the suggestion that the efficacy seen here in these clinical trials may be less than we're seen with the RNA vaccines, which came out at around 95%. Now, it's really important to realize those studies were done at a different time under different circumstances. And they might or might not come out the same now.
Regarding the variance, what we see from the preliminary results of this study, at least this one variant, this mutant that's largely circulating in South Africa, but was also reported in the US yesterday, appears to result in decreased efficacy of these vaccines. I think it does mean that the more we can do to get the pandemic under control quickly-- and again, a one-dose vaccine can help with that-- the better. Both having these multiple tools, continuing to develop others, particularly as these strains evolve, and continuing to adapt to new strains is going to be really important.