South African trial shows J&J vaccine effective against delta variant

Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine is effective at preventing severe disease among those infected with the delta variant, according to a large-scale trial in South Africa. 

The trial, which involved nearly 480,000 health care workers in the country, is the first instance of significant evidence that the J&J shot works against the highly contagious variant, trial co-lead Glenda Gray said. 

The vaccine proved to be 71 percent effective against hospitalization and up to 96 percent effective against death, Gray said. 

The news from South Africa's trial comes after a study in July found that the J&J vaccine may be less effective in batting coronavirus variants than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The results found Pfizer and Moderna's shots to be 94-95 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, and J&J's to be 66.9 percent effective.

J&J announced in March that they would provide the African Union with up to 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses after the African Union had struggled to acquire enough vaccines for its member countries compared to wealthier nations like the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The single-shot vaccine also provided an advantage for a continent trying to inoculate 1 billion widely dispersed people, Bloomberg noted.

The company temporarily paused the vaccine's distribution in the U.S. in April after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a joint statement calling for a temporary halt of the vaccine, following the discovery of a rare blood clot risk. South Africa also temporarily suspended the vaccine shortly after the FDA and CDC's statement.