A flurry of positive medical news on the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 Tuesday was weighing against somber news from Russia, which recorded yet another record one-day death toll to cement its position as the European country with the highest number of fatalities.
Johnson & Johnson JNJ, +0.89% submitted an amendment to the emergency-use authorization it’s seeking from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine. The amendment offered additional data showing the booster increased protection to 94% against moderate to severe or critical COVID-19 in patients aged 18 and older in the U.S.
The submission includes recent data from a Phase 3 trial that found the booster given 56 days after primary dose provided 94% protection against symptomatic illness in moderate to severe/critical COVID-19 and 100% protection against severe/critical COVID-19, at least 14 days post-booster vaccination.
It also includes Phase 1/2 data that shows a booster given six months after the single-dose vaccine increases antibody levels ninefold one week after administration that climbs to twelvefold higher four weeks after. J&J is planning to submit the data to other regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization.
Separately, AstraZeneca AZN, +0.85% AZN, 0.18% said it has submitted an antibody drug for emergency authorization in the U.S., after clinical trials showed it was 77% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, Dow Jones Newswires reported. The drug, AZD7442, would be the first to be authorized for COVID-19 prevention, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
See also: ‘This is a profound game changer’: Merck’s antiviral pill cuts risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death in half, data show
Russia counted 895 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the most since the start of the outbreak and continuing a streak of record daily death tolls, Reuters reported. The Kremlin is blaming the trend on the slow pace of vaccinations and a more virulent virus variant, delta.
“The numbers are really very bad, and this is indeed a cause for concern. The main reason is the insufficient level of vaccination,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Russia has fully vaccinated 42.2 million people out of 142 million and reportedly believes it needs to inoculate at least 35.9 million more to achieve collective immunity.
The U.S. is still averaging close to 2,000 COVID-19 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, although hospitalizations and new cases are on the retreat after a surge in the summer months attributed to the advent of the delta variant. Most deaths, cases and hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people, and experts continue to urge those people to get their shots.https://watchlivenow.org