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AstraZeneca vaccine shows strong immune response in elderly, appears safe in study

AstraZeneca vaccine shows strong immune response in elderly, appears safe in study
Posted at 9:33 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 09:40:15-05

A coronavirus vaccine created by a collaboration between drugmaker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is showing results that it is safe and triggers a similar immune response among adults of all ages, according to preliminary results of their phase 2 study.

The findings show the vaccine creates as strong an immune response in those over age 70 as it does in younger adults.

The phase 2 trial did not look at how well the vaccine protected volunteers from infection. Instead, it looked at safety indicators and the body’s immune response. Researchers believe the immune response they found would provide protection.

The trial involved 560 adult volunteers, with 240 of them over the age of 70.

“It is essential that a COVID-19 vaccine can be effective across a broad age range, particularly in older individuals where they are disproportionately at risk of severe COVID-19 disease. The Phase II interim data for AZD1222 suggests older individuals have lower reactogenicity whilst still maintaining a robust immune response,” said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D in a statement.

Phase 3 testing for the AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine is underway around the world. This is the last stage before seeking regulatory approval, and includes tracking the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing coronavirus.

AstraZeneca and Oxford’s vaccine works differently than the one created by Pfizer and Moderna. It uses a modified cold virus called adenovirus, and it carries a little piece of the coronavirus into the body to train the immune system to recognize and attack it.

Moderna and Pfizer both announced their phase 3 trials showed each of their vaccines were more than 90 percent effective at preventing the coronavirus.