A leading candidate for the Covid-19 vaccine has shown that a robust immune response in healthy older adults is safely developed, its British manufacturers said Thursday when their Phase 2 trial results were released.
The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, produced less side effects in individuals aged 56 and over than in younger individuals, a significant finding given that Covid-19 causes serious disease among seniors in a disproportionate way.
To validate the findings, the manufacturers said the vaccine was undergoing larger, more rigorous phase 3 trials.
When people grow older, immune responses from vaccines begin to decline as the immune system slowly slows with age.
It makes older adults more prone to infection from a range of diseases.
Andre Pollard, an Oxford professor and lead author of the study findings, published in The Lancet, “As a result, it is crucial that Covid-19 vaccines are tested in this group, which is also a priority group for immunisation.”
There were 560 participants in the phase 2 trial, 240 of whom were over 70, divided into groups receiving either one or two doses of the vaccine or a placebo.
On the day of the vaccine, they had their immune responses tested, and several more times during the weeks to come.
Across all age groups, the researchers said, responses were “similar.”
The research shows that immune responses have been developed in all age groups, including those over 70 years of age,” said Michael Head, senior research fellow at the University of Southampton in Global Health, who was not involved in the trial.”
Since elderly people will be one of the priority groups when one is available to receive a vaccine, this is good news.”
According to the World Health Organisation, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is one of 48 that are going through clinical trials against Covid-19.
Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna revealed the results of phase 3 studies this month, which are much larger than phase 2 and typically include tens of thousands of subjects, indicating that both candidates for the vaccine were successful in preventing Covid-19.
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