Oxford Vaccine Candidate Looks Promising as Older People Show Strong Immune Response

October 27, 2020 Updated: October 27, 2020

A vaccine under development has shown promise due to its producing a good immune response and low side effects in older people who are among those most vulnerable to the CCP virus.

The vaccine candidate, AZD1222, is being developed by Oxford University in partnership with the Cambridge based pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca.

It has shown promising results in trials involving both younger and older adults over 56, including adults over 70.

In older people, Phase II trials of the vaccine have shown that the immune response was on a par with younger adults, but the level of side effects was even lower.

“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,” AstraZeneca said in an emailed statement.

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A man walks past a sign at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England, on May 19, 2014. (Phil Noble/File Photo/Reuters)

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” it added.

The University of Oxford’s Dr. Andrew Pollard discussed the as yet unpublished early findings at a research conference, the Oxford Vaccine Centre (OVC) said in an emailed statement.

“These early results covering trial volunteers from the UK in the 56–69 and 70+ age groups have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, and we hope to see their publication in the coming weeks,” it said.

‘A Key Milestone’

Though ongoing trials will provide further data the results were “a key milestone” and gave reassurance that the vaccine is “safe for use,” producing good immune responses in “all adult groups,” it added.

Other scientists have responded to the early findings from the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine trials.

Dr. Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement the findings were “encouraging.”

He said however that it was not possible to comment properly until the data was seen and “later phase trials” were needed to see ifimmune responses translate into clinical efficacy.”

Dr. Robert Read, head of clinical and experimental sciences within medicine at the University of Southampton said in a statement  that we still need to wait a little longer for information on protection from natural disease and overall safety in ‘field trials.’”

“The fact that reactogenicity—adverse events after vaccination, such as sore arm/fever, etc.—is said to be relatively low in older adults is also very reassuring,” he added.

The vaccine’s trials are in both Phase II (being tested on hundreds of volunteers) and Phase III (being tested on thousands) and, ultimately, it will have been tested on around 50,000 people.

The trials are taking place in the UK, the United States, India, South Africa, Japan, and Brazil.

Phase III Results

Some of them are further ahead than others an AstraZeneca spokesperson told The Epoch Times, but it is hoped that Phase III results will be out by the end of the year.

“And then after that, we’ll send the results to regulators, and the regulators will review it, and if they feel it is good to go, then we get the green light, then we will start to ship it out,” he said.

He added that there are supply agreements for the vaccine with a “whole host of countries” and that the company is “looking to supply 3 billion doses to the world.”

He also said that doses would not go to “just wealthy countries but low to middle-income countries as well.”

“And that’s part of our commitment,” he added.

Other companies including Pfizer and Moderna also have vaccine candidates at comparable stages of development.