A vaccine that works is seen as a game changer in the battle against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, shut down swathes of the global economy and disrupted the normal lives of billions of people.“It is encouraging to see that the immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that the reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the severity of Covid-19 disease is higher,” said said an AstraZeneca spokesperson.
“The results strengthen the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesperson said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.
AstraZeneca did not provide details on the data behind the statement or indicate when it would release the much-anticipated data from the end-stage Phase 3 trials, which would show whether the vaccine is working well enough in large-scale trials for it to be. be approved.
The vaccine is expected to be one of the first in the big pharmaceutical industry to gain regulatory approval, along with that of Pfizer and BioNTech.
The news that older people get 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, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some normality after the pandemic.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready, but was preparing logistics for a possible deployment, mainly in the first half of 2021.
When asked if some people could get a vaccine this year, he told the BBC: “I’m not ruling this out, but it’s not my main expectation. ”
Work on the Oxford vaccine began in January. Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the viral vector vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.
Immunogenicity blood tests performed on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged 18 to 55. years, the Financial Times reported earlier.
“We have to see the data before concluding that the answers were ‘similar’,” said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
He said reactogenicity – common vaccine side effects such as pain and redness in the arm – was “often, but not always” associated with a vaccine’s immunogenicity.
“Studies conducted in the first stage of vaccine development will result in choosing a dose that does not cause too much reactogenicity,” he said.
AstraZeneca has signed multiple supply and manufacturing agreements with companies and governments around the world as it nears early results from the advanced clinical trial.
It resumed U.S. testing of the experimental vaccine after approval from U.S. regulators, the company said on Friday.
Staff at a London hospital have been told to be ready to receive the first batches of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the Sun reported on Monday.