The Covid-19 vaccine produced by the University of Oxford generates a similar immune response in both younger and older adults, according to the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and could be made available for vulnerable patients before the end of the year.
Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older trial participants show that the vaccine triggers protective antibodies and T-cells among the elderly — one of the most at-risk age groups.
“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,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson told Reuters.
“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesperson added, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.
Although the finding raises hope that the elderly will be able to build up some form of immunity against the disease, positive immunogenicity tests do not guarantee that the vaccine will ultimately prove safe and effective. Further analysis for this age group is required.
Details of the tests are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, according to The Financial Times. It did not name the publication.
This echoes data released in July that demonstrated that the vaccine had generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55.
The Oxford vaccine, which is being manufactured by AstraZeneca, is among the leading candidates currently in development, along with doses produced by Pfizer and Moderna.