A team of researchers at The University of Oxford confirmed that their new Covid-19 vaccine that has developed with the AstraZeneca Plc, in an early study, generated strong immune responses in older adults.
Research findings from the last phase of the study are expected in comping weeks, hopefully to support the preliminary data, data published The Lancet medical journal on Thursday, supported the preliminary data released in recent months. The data showed that the experimental shot was found to generate a strong immune response in the elderly and older adults, who lie in the most vulnerable age bracket.
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New safe and effective vaccines are welcomed to combat the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, particularly in older age group, especially after it surpasses the grim milestone of 55 million. However, researchers are still awaiting results of late-stage trial to determine whether their work is able to meet the high bar set by front-runners Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.
"We now have clear evidence of efficacy of the vaccine to prevent Covid-19 disease"
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In the last two weeks, a flurry of news relating new promising vaccines showed an optimum 95% effectiveness. Pfizer, along with Germany’s BioNTech SE, confirmed that their new Covid-19 vaccine shot was 95% effective in a final analysis of trial data, planning to seek an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. regulatory clearance for vaccine. Similarly, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine appears equally effective.
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In the second phase Oxford study, researchers recruited 560 adults, including 240 aged above 70. The main focus was on the older patients as they were hit hard by the pandemic, including a large number of mortalities were from the people over 60. Results of the study were released in July, showing that the vaccine was able to generate the strong immune responses in adults aged 18 to 55.
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Notably, results indicated that potential vaccine is well tolerated in elderly group, producing string and potent immune response in adults as well as in young adults. produces a similar immune response in old and young adults. Moreover, the experts from Oxford expect that the final-stage efficacy results will be out in the coming weeks.
“Inducing robust immune responses in older adults has been a long-standing challenge,” said Angela Minassian, an investigator at Oxford.
The results further showed that the vaccine did cause few side effects, yet it strongly provokes strong immune response by inducing the production of a special type of immune cells called T cells that target the virus within 14 days of the first dose and caters a protective antibody response within 28 days of the booster dose. Furthermore, in 208 of 209 patients, they were able to achieve the neutralizing levels by 14 days after a boost vaccination.
According to The Lancet’s Horton, the two biggest challenges from now on are the distribution and the anti-vaccination movement. He explained that the two-dose regimen required for the leading vaccine candidates mean that to inoculate the global population, about 15 billion doses could be required, the biggest challenge of the time.