Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine 'encouraging' for older age groups

Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine 'encouraging' for older age groups”

Oxford University and AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults, newly published data has showed, with researchers expecting to release late-stage trial results by Christmas.

Immune responses from vaccines tend to lessen as people get older as the immune system gradually slows with age.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate, called AZD1222, has been among the front-runners in global efforts to develop shots to protect against coronavirus infection.

'The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in older people in our study are encouraging, ' said co-author Dr Maheshi Ramasamy from the University of Oxford.

Spelling out the prioritization details for the vaccine, Vardhan said the government will be "prioritising people according to their age and medical condition" and that preparations are being done with that in mind.

"We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers". And it turns out that older adults are less likely to have local reactions where they got the injection and symptoms on the day of vaccination compared to younger people. This is important because vaccines often don't work as well in older people, Pollard said.

ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine is now undergoing its Phase 3 trial with 40,051 participants now enrolled.

"We are optimistic that we'll be able to do that before Christmas". Adding that, "We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but further research will be needed before we can be sure".

More news: China deplores 'Five Eyes' countries interfering in Hong Kong affairs

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that India is in talks with the vaccine companies for the procurement of 400 to 500 million doses till July next year.

The authors also note that the oldest age group in their study - whose average age is 73-74 - may not represent the general population because they happened to have relatively few underlying health conditions, given their age.

What's more, the Trump administration has a deal with AstraZeneca, paying $1.2 billion in exchange for 300 million doses of the vaccine for the United States if it is shown to be effective.

This means there are now four promising vaccines on the horizon after Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna already reporting good preliminary data from Phase 3 trials.

Earlier in the week United States biotech firm Moderna released data suggesting its vaccine is nearly almost 95% effective.

The news about Moderna's vaccine candidate is encouraging - and we've secured tens of millions of doses for Canadians.

Forty million doses of that vaccine have been bought by the United Kingdom, with rollout potentially starting in early December if the jab is given the green light by regulators.

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