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J&J Shows Off Covid Boosters, But Can It Catch Moderna, Pfizer?

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said Tuesday a booster shot of its Covid vaccine at six months led to a 12-fold increase in antibodies — and JNJ stock inched higher.




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Another study showed the real-world effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson jab. In that test, it prevented three-quarters of severe/critical Covid cases across all age groups and countries.

“Totality of data on Johnson & Johnson vaccine (especially on severe/critical Covid) is clearly very supportive,” Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat said in a report.

On the stock market today, JNJ stock rose 0.4% to 164.53.

JNJ Stock: Booster Shows Promise

Johnson & Johnson tested two booster shot regimens.

In the first, recipients received a second shot two months after their first. That regimen was 94% protective in the U.S. against symptomatic moderate to severe/critical Covid at least two weeks after the second shot. Globally, it was 75% effective.

Two doses two months apart also proved 100% effective against severe/critical Covid two weeks following the second dose.

Across all participants, antibody levels rose four to six times higher following the second dose vs. following the first.

The company also tested a booster shot at six months following the first dose. That resulted in a ninefold increase in antibodies one week after receiving the booster. Antibody levels climbed to a 12-fold increase a month after the booster.

The results are promising for JNJ stock, which has fallen precipitously since mid-August.

Real-World Test Confirms Effectiveness

In the real-world study, the Johnson & Johnson shot remained 75% protective against severe or critical Covid across all age groups and countries. The vaccine’s effectiveness was slightly lower in the U.S. at 74%.

But, in the U.S., the vaccine remained highly effective against hospitalization and Covid-related death — 89% and 83%, respectively. That’s bullish for JNJ stock.

Evercore ISI’s Raffat notes the results trail messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer (PFE)-BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA). But Johnson & Johnson could still succeed abroad.

“Sure, some of the (effectiveness) data ex-U.S. are tracking lower than lead mRNAs, however, J&J’s vaccine pricing discipline makes a compelling case for many geographies ex-U.S.,” he said.

JNJ stock broke out of a flat base in early August, according to MarketSmith.com. After rising within the buy zone, shares definitively dropped in early September. Still, shares remain above the 7%-8% sell zone, although they have fallen well below their 50-day moving average.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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