Oxford confirms COVID-19 vaccine produces strong immune response in older adults

Oxford University confirmed Thursday that the COVID vaccine it is developing with AstraZeneca produced strong immune responses in older adults in a preliminary study, and key findings expected from the latest phase of testing In the next weeks.

The results, published Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet, shed more light on preliminary data published in recent months showing that the experimental injection elicited an immune response in the elderly, those who are at higher risk of serious illness.

“This is a very important step because the big concern with any vaccine is that does not work well in older peopleRichard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, emphasized in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

The data is « another brick in the house that we are trying to build for this vaccine, » he added.

Researchers are still awaiting late-stage trial results to show whether the vaccine can meet the established high standard. by pioneers Pfizer and Moderna. The Astra-Oxford data analysis will come after 53 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the trial, Andrew Pollard, principal investigator for the Oxford trial, said at a news conference.

Pollard also added that Astra and Oxford will release the « high-level » results of the trials once they pass the infection benchmark immediately, followed by more detailed, peer-reviewed data analysis in a scientific journal. weeks later.

Shares of AstraZeneca saw little change in London trading after rising as much as 1.7 percent the previous Thursday.

The last two weeks have brought a flood of promising vaccine news. Pfizer, which works with Germany’s BioNTech, revealed Wednesday that its injection was 95 percent effective in a final analysis of the data, paving the way for the company to apply for regulatory clearance from the United States. Moderna’s vaccine seems just as effective.

It may interest you: How do Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines work and why should they be at low temperatures?

The results of the phase 2 study of Oxford show that the vaccine is better tolerated in older people and produces a similar immune response in young adults and the elderly.

The study involved 560 adults, including 240 over 70s. The elderly have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in people aged 60 and over. Data released in July showed that the vaccine elicited strong immune responses in adults ages 18 to 55.

« Inducing robust immune responses in older adults has been a long-time challenge, » Angela Minassian, an Oxford researcher, wrote in a statement.

« Demonstrating that the technology of this vaccine is capable of inducing these responses in the age group most at risk of severe disease from COVID-19 offers hope that the efficacy of the vaccine will be similar in young and old adults, » he added.

Oxford expects final stage efficacy results in the coming weeks.

The study shows that the vaccine causes few side effects and elicits a virus-attacking T cell response within 14 days of the first dose and a protective antibody response within 28 days of the booster dose. Neutralization levels were achieved 14 days after a booster vaccination in 208 of 209 patients.

The required two-dose regimen for the main vaccine candidates means that around 15 billion doses to inoculate the world’s population. Distribution and the anti-vaccination movement are now the two biggest challenges facing the vaccine effort, according to Horton of The Lancet.

“The responsibility of our political leaders is to generate trust in the publicHorton said. « We have to protect the progress we have made and the anti-vaccination movement is a threat to that progress. »

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