UPDATE: Oxford coronavirus vaccine spells good news for older adults

November 20, 2020

Good preliminary results for the Oxford coronavirus vaccine co-developed with drugmaker AstraZeneca adds to the already promising trial results for three other vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Russia’s Sputnik. According to research data, the Oxford vaccine shows a strong immune response in adults suggesting that it can protect age groups most at risk from the virus; the Oxford vaccine would also be easier to manufacture and distribute as it doesn’t need to be stored at very cold temperatures.

A COVID-19 vaccine would need to work to trigger the body to fight back against the virus, no matter how old someone is: trial results for the Oxford vaccine, made from a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees, showed that it conferred “a strong immune response” most notably in older adults or those over 55, 65, and 70 years of age. Older adults’ weaker immune systems mean vaccines do not tend to function as well as they do in younger recipients, however the Oxford vaccine was able to bring about comparative immune responses; older adults were also less likely to experience side-effects because of the vaccine.

“We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society (especially ) people with existing health conditions and older adults,” said Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy, an investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group. “The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself.”

Even though phase III trials of the Oxford vaccine are still ongoing, the UK government has placed orders for at least 100 million doses of the vaccine, which is expected to be available early next year. It has previously ordered some 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and five million of the Moderna vaccine.

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Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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