Global drug maker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced that its COVID-19 vaccine (Ad26.COV2.S) showed 85% efficacy against Omicron-related hospitalizations in a study conducted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) on healthcare workers in South Africa.
Real-World Study Results
The SAMRC conducted a study among healthcare workers in South Africa from mid-November to mid-December, when the Omicron variant became dominant in the country. During the period, Omicron-related cases rose from 82% to 98% of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, as published by GISAID (Global initiative on sharing all influenza data).
The preliminary results from the Phase 3b Sisonke 2 study revealed that the primary JNJ dose showed 85% efficacy against Omicron-related hospitalizations. When a booster shot was administered between six and nine months after the initial dose, vaccine efficacy increased from 63% at 0-13 days after the booster to 85% at 1-2 months post-boost.
The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) conducted a separate study on varying vaccine treatments. The study revealed that the effectiveness of the JNJ booster on individuals who were previously vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines showed a 41-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies and a five-fold increase in immunity-boosting T-cells against Omicron.
Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Johnson & Johnson said, “This adds to our growing body of evidence which shows that the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine remains strong and stable over time, including against circulating variants such as Omicron and Delta… We believe that the protection could be due to the robust T-cell responses induced by the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.”
Glenda E. Gray, MBBCH, FCPaed (SA), President and CEO of the SAMRC said, “We are encouraged to see that boosting with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine regimen provides strong protection in a challenging real-world setting where there is an elevated risk of exposure – not just to COVID-19, but to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.”
Recently, Credit Suisse analyst Matt Miksic reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $200, which implies 16.1% upside potential to current levels.
Consensus among analysts is a Strong Buy based on 6 Buys and 1 Hold. The average Johnson & Johnson price target of $189.83 implies 10.2% upside potential to current levels. Shares have gained 9.5% over the past year.