Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has confirmed that its single shot COVID vaccine protects against the Delta coronavirus variant, which was first detected in India.
The company said the jab showed strong promise against the variant, which is spreading in the UK and other parts of the world, as well as other emerging strains. It added that it also provided durable protection against the infection more broadly.
Data showed that the durability of immune response for recipients of its vaccine lasted at least eight months, J&J said, adding that its vaccine was 85% effective and could also help prevent hospitalisation and death.
"Current data for the eight months studied so far shows that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time," Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J's drugs business, said in a statement.
"With each new dataset, we build on our solid foundation of evidence that our single-shot COVID-19 vaccine plays a critical role in ending the pandemic, which continues to evolve and pose new challenges to global health."
Watch: Why is the new Delta COVID variant so contagious?
People who received the vaccine produced strong neutralising antibodies against all variants including the Delta strain, the healthcare firm said, with consistent effectiveness across all regions studied globally. This included South Africa and Brazil, where there was a high prevalence of rapidly emerging Beta and Zetavariants during the study period.
The J&J vaccine is estimated to remain stable for two years at -4°F (-20°C), and a maximum of 4.5 months at routine refrigeration temperatures of 36° to 46°F (2° to 8°C).
The vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States on 27 February and Conditional Marketing Authorization (CMA) by the European Commission on March 11, 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued emergency use listing on 12 March.
According to the WHO, the Delta variant is becoming the globally dominant strain of COVID-19.
A rapid outbreak of the variant in the UK caused the country to delay the full reopening of its economy on 21 June by at least four weeks.
On Friday, Public Health England (PHE) reported a total of 161,981 confirmed and probable cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant have now been identified in the UK, up by 50,824, or 46%, on the previous week.
It also revealed that the Delta variant now accounts for 95% of UK cases.
Watch: J&J vaccine is 'effective' against Delta variant