British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said on Monday that its potential Covid-19 vaccine triggered a similar immune response in both older and younger adults..
A vaccine developed by the University of Oxford also causes less negative reactions in older people..
World Health Organization (WHO) stated that older people, in addition to people of all ages with pre-existing illnesses, appear to develop serious illnesses with coronavirus infection more often than others.
Announcement likely to boost hopes for developing a Covid vaccine by the end of 2020.
Drug manufacturers and research centers around the world are struggling to develop and deliver a safe and effective vaccine in an effort to end the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 1.15 million lives.
«It is gratifying to see that the immunogenic responses in the elderly and young people were similar, and the reactogenicity was lower in the elderly, who have a higher severity of COVID-19 disease.», – said a spokesman for AstraZeneca.
«The results provide additional evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222.», – said a company spokesman, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.
Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first major pharmaceutical companies to receive regulatory approval, alongside a candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech.
The news that older people are developing an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are most at risk of dying from the virus.
If it works, the vaccine will allow the world to return to some degree of normalcy after the upheavals caused by pandemic.
UK Minister of Health Matt Hancock (Matt Hancock) said the vaccine is not yet ready, but he is already taking logistics measures for a possible deployment, presumably in the first half of 2021.
Asked if some people could get the vaccine this year, he told the BBC: «I do not rule out this, but this is not the main thing my expectation».
«The program is progressing well, (but) we have not reached the goal yet», – said Hancock.
Work on the Oxford vaccine began in January. The vaccine, dubbed AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is made from a weakened version of the common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.
The chimpanzee’s cold virus has been genetically altered to include the genetic sequence of a so-called spike protein, which the coronavirus uses to enter human cells. There is hope that the human body will attack the new coronavirus if it sees it again.
A blood test for immunogenicity performed on a subset of elderly participants and related data published in July showed that the vaccine caused «robust immune responses» in a group of healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55, as previously reported by the Financial Times.
Details of the discovery are expected to be published soon in a medical journal, FT reports..
AstraZeneca has signed multiple supply and manufacturing agreements with companies and governments around the world as the company gets closer to reporting early results of late-stage clinical trials soon..
London Hospital Fund staff have been told to be ready to receive the first shipments of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, The Sun reported Monday..
CEO of AstraZeneca Pascal Suaro (Pascal Soirot) previously said the drug manufacturer’s vaccine is likely to provide protection against coronavirus infection for about a year.