The Oxford University and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine candidate is safe, enhances the immune response, and is better tolerated in adult adults, according to data from a phase 2 clinical trial.
The researchers recruited 560 participants, 240 of whom were 70 or older. The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet on Thursday.
If the boosted immune response correlates with protection against the virus, the researchers say the “findings are encouraging” because older people are at higher risk of more serious outcomes after infection. The ongoing phase 3 trial will evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine.
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The team found that younger participants experienced side effects such as vaccine injection site pain, fever and muscle aches more often than older adults. In particular, after two doses, 88% of those aged 18 to 55 years had so-called ‘local reactions’ (redness and swelling at the injection site), while 61% of participants over 70 had these reactions.
The team said the latest findings support research from an earlier stage.
In addition, there were 13 serious adverse events as of 26 October, although the researchers stated that “none of them were considered related to any of the vaccines tested, as assessed by the researchers”. Earlier, there were reports of the death of a volunteer in Brazil during a phase 3 study, and the researchers said that serious side effects would be described in a future report.
The phase 3 test was briefly paused before being restarted at the end of last month.
A top scientist from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Sumia Suminanat, had said that the break in the study was a “good wake-up call” given the “ups and downs in research”.
“Independent evaluations have led to the recommendation that the test is safe to continue,” the study authors wrote.
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Finally, the researchers said that the vaccine referred to the so-called “T-cell response” 14 days after vaccination, with an antibody response 28 days later.
“T cells are lymphocytes that are part of white blood cells that help fight various infections,” Dr. Adi Shah, an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in the fight, told Fox News earlier. the AstraZeneca study. “Studies show that T cells play a major role in the immune response of the coronavirus, [and] what role they play [is] is being investigated. ”
The Oxford-AstraZeneca team said the phase 2 trial had its limitations, including how participants over the age of 70 had few basic health conditions that “may not be representative of the general older population”, although ongoing trials at a later stage evaluate the vaccine in older adults with more comorbidities.
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