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J&J COVID-19 injection gets better boost from Moderna or Pfizer in NIH study By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are seen in the city of Ricany near Prague, Czech Republic, on February 25, 2021. REUTERS / David W Cerny / File Photo / File Photo / File Photo

By Carl O’Donnell

(Reuters) – People who received the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 Inc COVID-19 vaccine as their first injection had a stronger immune response when boosted with vaccines from Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 Inc / BioNTech SE or Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc, a study by the National Institutes of Health showed Wednesday.

The study, which is preliminary and has not been peer-reviewed, is the latest challenge to J & J’s efforts to use its COVID-19 vaccine as a booster in the United States.

The study, which included more than 450 adults who received initial injections from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, showed that “mix and match” booster injections of different types is safe in adults. Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are based on messenger RNA, while J & J’s use viral vector technology.

This is an advisory group that the US Food and Drug Administration is preparing to meet later this week to discuss the merits of a booster shot for the Moderna and J&J vaccines.

FDA officials said Wednesday that J & J’s regulatory submission for its planned boost raised red flags, including small sample sizes and data based on tests that had not been validated.

U.S. health officials have come under pressure to offer advice on booster doses of the J&J and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines after the White House announced in August that it planned to implement boosters starting last month for the most adults.

The NIH study contrasted the safety and immune response of volunteers who were boosted with the same type of injection that they had been given for their initial vaccination with those who received a different type of injection as a booster.

Mixing and matching doses for a booster produced side effects similar to those seen in primary inoculations and did not raise significant safety concerns, according to the study.

The study of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed in the United States showed that using different types of injections as boosters generally appeared to produce a comparable or superior antibody response than using the same type.

The test was carried out in 10 US cities and used a total of nine combinations of initial shots and reinforcements.

Mixing booster doses “may offer immunological benefits to optimize the breadth and longevity of protection achieved with currently available vaccines,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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