A Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC showed promising immune responses in elderly and older adults, with fewer serious side effects than in younger volunteers, according to a just-published interim analysis previewed in late October.
The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine, developed with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70.
The continuing late-stage trials of the vaccine will show broader results for safety and efficacy, including in older adults with underlying health conditions, and from a wider range of backgrounds, countries and ethnicities of all ages, researchers said.
AstraZeneca and the university are now gearing up to release the efficacy of its final stage clinical trials data to see its efficacy on a larger group of people. The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself'.
Spain's medicines agency authorised the launch of late-stage trials of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday as the race to develop successful vaccines intensifies.
He said: "The other thing that we found which I think is really important is the vaccine is really well tolerated in those who are over 55".
A vial of the Oxford vaccine
"We're obviously not going to rush that", he told BBC radio.
Dr Ramasamy added: "The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in older people in our study are encouraging".
Older adults have been shown to be at higher risk from COVID-19 and should be considered to be a priority for immunisation should any effective vaccine be developed for the disease. "Local and systemic reactions were more common in participants given ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 than in those given the control vaccine, and similar in nature to those previously reported (injection-site pain, feeling feverish, muscle ache, headache), but were less common in older adults (aged =56 years) than younger adults", says The Lancet report.
Thirteen serious adverse events occurred in the six months since the first dose was given, none of which were related to either study vaccine.
Earlier in the week United States biotech firm Moderna released data suggesting its vaccine is nearly almost 95% effective.
"However, if the immune measures recorded in the phase two part of this study correlate with protection from Sars-Cov-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19), then we would expect positive outcomes from the phase three trial". "Further assessment of the efficacy of this vaccine is warranted in all age groups and individuals with co-morbidities", noted the study.