Oxford vaccine with promising results to protect the elderly

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These are data that were reported in the last month, but only now have seen the light of day through a study published by the scientific journal Lancet.

The information available allows us to conclude that people over 70 years of age – the population most at risk for Covid-19 – can with this vaccine develop a robust immunity to the disease.

According to the preliminary results of the second phase of clinical trials, “the British SARS-CoV-2 vaccine shows safety and immunity results in healthy adults aged 56 years and over similar to those shown in people aged 18 to 40. 55 years”.

The study included 560 healthy people, 240 of whom were over 70 and the results indicate that the Oxford vaccine “is better tolerated in older people compared to young adults” and produces a similar immune response in all age groups.

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“The robust antibodies and T-cell responses that we saw in older people in our study are encouraging,” said Maheshi Ramasamy, a researcher in the Oxford vaccine group.

The researchers believe that the results “can be encouraging if the reactions of this study” are accompanied by protection against infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 disease, which can only be confirmed by clinical trials. the third phase of vaccine development, which are already taking place and include even older people with other diseases.

“Vaccine immune responses are sometimes diminished in older people because the immune system deteriorates with age, which makes them more susceptible to infections, so it is crucial that vaccines for covid-19 be tested in this group, which is also a priority for vaccination, “said the study’s lead author, Andrew Pollard, from Oxford University.

The final phase – III – is currently underway to confirm these results, say the researchers. Results that should arrive “possibly in the next” weeks, advances the magazine Lancet.

This study is the fifth evaluation of clinical studies of a vaccine against the new coronavirus tested in older groups of the population. The adverse reactions observed were considered mild, the most common being pain at the inoculation site, fatigue, headaches, fever and muscle pain. There were serious adverse reactions in 13 of the volunteers in the six months following vaccination, none of which were related to the vaccine.

Researcher Sarah Gilbert said that the study provides some answers on the protection of older people, but that there are still doubts “about the effectiveness and duration of protection”, which will have to be confirmed “in older people with pre-existing diseases “.

The authors point out some limitations in the study sample, whose older participants had an average age of 73-74 years and were relatively healthy, so they may not be representative of the majority of the older population.

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