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AstraZeneca Vaccine Produces Immune Response in Older Adults

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AstraZeneca Vaccine Produces Immune Response in Older Adults

2020-10-27 16:10:18

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Vaccine being administered (Image source: Public domain)

Now that the AstraZeneca vaccine is back on track, it's producing results that could propel it further toward becoming the coronavirus vaccine we've all been searching for. It has produced an immune response in older adults.

Since the coronavirus started overtaking the country, people have been hoping and praying for a vaccine. We heard it could be sometime in 2021, and that seemed like an impossibly long time to wait, but now we're halfway there.

In this time, there have been many, many vaccines throughout the world that have been going through research and trial phases. The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of a few that are close to being ready.

The immune response that the vaccine, known as reactogenicity, produced in older adults was similar to what is seen in younger people, according to the company. Along with producing this promising result, adverse responses were lower in older people.

"It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher," said an AstraZeneca spokesperson. "The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of [the vaccine[."

The company has partnered with Oxford University  to develop this vaccine. It's now in the third phase of clinical trials. It joins the other vaccines leading the race: Pfizer and Moderna.

Its future was questioned last month when it was pulled from the trial phase when safety concerns arose. This was due to a participant developing neurological symptoms. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration allowed AstraZeneca to resume the vaccine trial.

"The restart of clinical trials across the world is great news, as it allows us six to continue our efforts to develop this vaccine to help defeat this terrible pandemic," said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot in a statement. "We should be reassured by the care taken by independent regulators to protect the public and ensure the vaccine is safe before it is approved for use."

The full results of this vaccine candidate won't be known, especially with regard to safety and efficacy, until the phase three trial is finished and the data is published.

Professor Florian Krammer of vaccinology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York reacted to the announcement about the reaction in older people with a tweet.

"AZ says the vaccine is immunogenic in older individuals. This has been shown for other COVID-19 vaccines, too. Good, but no breakthrough," wrote the professor. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infection disease specialist in the country, said last week that in December, the results of at least one trial would be known. If it's a go, it's expected that it will only be available for the most vulnerable of the population. Wide availability won't happen until sometime around the middle of 2021.

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