Oxford COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in older adults

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New Delhi (NVI): The coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, produced strong immune responses in older adults in their 60s and 70s, according to a study.

The ‘ChAdOx1 nCov-2019’ coronavirus vaccine has shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and those over 70 years of age.

According to the data published in The Lancet medical journal, one of the groups most vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID-19, could now build immunity. Whereas, the Phase III trials of the ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine are ongoing, with early efficacy readings possible in the coming weeks.

As per the authors of the Oxford vaccine findings, volunteers in the trial demonstrate similar neutralising antibody titres, and T cell responses across all three age groups of 18-55, 56-79, and 70 and above.

Nearly 560 healthy adult volunteers took part in the phase two trials, where they were given two doses of the vaccine candidate or a placebo. No adverse health problems were reported during the trials, the study said.

Earlier this year, the results were consistent with the Phase I data reported for healthy adults aged between 18-55 years, it added.

Maheshi Ramasamy, Investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group and Consultant Physician said, “Older adults are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination, because they are at increased risk of severe disease, but we know that they tend to have poorer vaccine responses.”

“We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults. It also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers. The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself,” Ramasamy said.

The University of Oxford said that in most vaccines, older adults do not exhibit as strong a response as younger adults with vaccine induced antibodies commonly display a lower protective capacity.

However, the data reported today are particularly promising, as they show that the older individuals in this study, who are more prone to serious illness and death from COVID-19, are showing a similar immune response to younger adults.

Angela Minassian, Investigator at the University of Oxford and Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases said, “Inducing robust immune responses in older adults has been a long-standing challenge in human vaccine research.”

“To show this vaccine technology is able to induce these responses, in the age group most at risk from severe COVID-19 disease, offers hope that vaccine efficacy will be similar in younger and older adults,” she added.

Furthermore, the study found that the vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca, was less likely to cause local reactions at the injection site and symptoms on the day of vaccination in older adults than in the younger group.

-RJV