West Africa-Based Studies Show JNJ, Merck's Ebola Vaccines Provide Lasting Antibodies

  • Ebola vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson JNJ and Merck & Co Inc MRK produced virus-fighting antibodies and appeared to be safe in children and adults, two studies conducted in West Africa show.
  • Both companies’ vaccines produced antibodies 14 days after the first of two shots and were detectable at varying levels in both children and adults for one year.
  • The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
  • The vaccines target the Zaire strain of the virus, not the Sudan strain of Ebola that recently caused an outbreak and at least 56 deaths in Uganda.
  • One regimen tested a dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine (Ad26.ZEBOV), followed by a booster shot (MVA-BN-Filo) from Bavarian Nordic A/S BVNRY BVNKF, while another tested two doses of Merck’s vaccine (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP) with eight weeks in between. 
  • A third option followed the first Merck dose with a placebo.
  • Only Merck’s shot can potentially be given as a single dose, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine may need to continue as a two-dose regimen, Reuters noted.
  • A total of 1,400 adults and 1,401 children aged one to 17 participated in the trials.
  • Price Action: MRK shares closed at $111.85 on Wednesday. JNJ shares are down 0.31% at $179.21 during the premarket session on the last check Thursday.
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