Oxford coronavirus vaccine deemed ‘safe’ in major breakthrough

UK's Oxford Covid-19 vaccine has made a huge breakthrough after it was deemed "safe" in healthy older adults.

In the phase 2 trial of the vaccine, scientists says the jab provokes immune response in older adults, who are at a disproportionate risk of severe coronavirus.

In a trial which involved 560 healthy adults, including 240 over the age of 70-years-old, preliminary findings on safety and immune responses were studied.

The results showed the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is better tolerated in older people, as compared to younger adults.

The vaccine also produces a similar immune response in old and young adults.

Despite the breakthrough, authors note this study did not assess efficacy and phase 3 trials are ongoing to confirm this.

Phase 3 trials will therefore determine if the immune responses found in their study are associated with protection against coronavirus.

Alongside this, the current phase 2 study found the vaccine causes few side effects, and induces immune responses in both parts of the immune system in all age groups and at low and standard dose.

Study lead author Professor Andrew Pollard, University of Oxford, UK, says: “Immune responses from vaccines are often lessened in older adults because the immune system gradually deteriorates with age, which also leaves older adults more susceptible to infections.

"As a result, it is crucial that COVID-19 vaccines are tested in this group who are also a priority group for immunisation.”

  • Pfizer's Covid vaccine is 95% effective and has now passed safety checks

The new study is the fifth published clinical trial of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 tested in an older adult population.

Other COVID-19 vaccines have also been shown to generate immune responses in older adults, but it can be difficult to compare results between different studies.

One study has shown similar immune responses in young and old adults (Moderna mRNA vaccine), while other trials have suggested lower measured responses in older adults, compared to younger adults receiving the same vaccine ( Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine, and SinoPharm/Beijing Institute of Biological Products inactivated viral vaccine).

  • Hope of 'normal' Christmas as Govt plans 'five days of household mixing indoors'

Co-author, Professor Sarah Gilbert, University of Oxford, UK, says: “The WHO has outlined a number of critical factors for COVID-19 vaccines, including that they must be targeted at the most at-risk groups including older adults.

"They must also be safe, effective in preventing disease and/or transmission, and provide at least six months of protection for people frequently exposed to the virus – such as healthcare workers.

Our new study answers some of these questions about protecting older adults, but questions remain about effectiveness and length of protection, and we need to confirm our results in older adults with underlying conditions to ensure that our vaccine protects those most at risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

This comes a day after Pfizer claimed its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective and has passed safety checks, in a huge breakthrough in the battle against the disease.

The drug, developed in collaboration with German partner BioNTech SE, is due to be distributed across the UK before the end of this year.

Source: Read Full Article