CHICAGO (Reuters) – Results of an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in young adults , with side effects roughly comparable to those of high-dose influenza vaccines, researchers said Tuesday.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of vaccine safety in the elderly, a group at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
The results are reassuring because immunity tends to wane with age, said Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the lead researchers in the study from Emory University in Atlanta, in a telephone interview. .
The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, initially conducted in people aged 18 to 55. He tested two doses of Moderna’s vaccine – 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms – in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.
Overall, the team found that in older adults who received two injections of the 100 microgram dose 28 days apart, the vaccine produced immune responses roughly similar to those seen in young people. adults.
Moderna is already testing the highest dose in a large Phase III trial, the last step before seeking emergency clearance or approval.
Side effects, which included headache, fatigue, body aches, chills, and pain at the injection site, were rated as mostly mild to moderate.
In at least two cases, however, the volunteers had severe reactions.
One of them developed a grade three fever, rated at 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39 ° C) or higher, after receiving the lowest dose of vaccine. Another developed fatigue so severe that it temporarily prevented daily activities, Anderson said.
Typically, the side effects occurred soon after receiving the vaccine and went away quickly, he said.
“It’s similar to what a lot of older adults will go through with the high-dose influenza vaccine,” Anderson said. “They may feel bad or have a fever.”
Norman Hulme, a 65-year-old senior media developer at Emory who took the lowest dose of the vaccine, said he felt compelled to participate in the trial after seeing first responders in New York City and around the world. Washington State fight the virus.
“I really didn’t have any side effects,” said Hulme, who grew up in the New York area.
Hulme said he was aware Moderna’s vaccine used new technology and there might be a risk in taking it, but said: “Someone had to do it.