Oxford University vaccine results indicate strong immune response among adults 56 and older
LONDON - Researchers in London have released more promising news in regards to a vaccine that may successfully ward off the oft-deadly COVID-19 illness.
According to ABC News, Oxford University announced Thursday that results from Phase 2 of its AZD122 vaccine trial indicate the vaccine is just as effective in treating patients aged 56 and older as it is in treating patients of a younger demographic.
This encouraging news, which was initially published in The Lancet, is critical because it pertains to individuals composing one of the most COVID-susceptible communities.
With the help of the new Oxford and Astra Zeneca developed vaccine, it appears that, these older individuals may be able to build immunity.
The Lancet report says of its recent AZD122 trial, “the vaccine causes few side effects, and induces immune responses in both parts of the immune system in all age groups.”
Phase 2 will be followed by a final, Phase 3 trial. If Phase 3 goes smoothly and concludes with positive results, this will allow researchers to request approval to distribute the vaccine.
These much anticipated Phase 3 results are expected within weeks and should conclusively show whether the vaccine is effective and safe across the board.
In the meantime, espite the promising results of the Phase 2 trial, health experts are cautiously optimistic, keeping in mind that the prospect of distribution remains to be seen.
Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy of the University of Oxford and co-author of the study said of the Phase 2 results, “We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but further research will be needed before we can be sure.”
The trial, led by a group of partnering scientists from Astra Zeneca and Oxford University, consisted of 560 participants - 400 of whom were 56 years of age and older- and the vaccine was shown to work just as effectively for them as it did the younger participants.
ABC News reveals the study also showed that adverse reactions to the vaccine were mild, with the most common side effects being injection-site pain'tenderness, fatigue, headache, feverishness and muscle pain.
In the days leading up to the positive news out of Oxford, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech both announced encouraging results of their Phase 3 trial.
According to ABC News, those two vaccines have been created by way of a technology known as mRNA; these vaccines genetic codes introduce an instruction manual comprised of genetic material called RNA or DNA. This instruction manual communicates information to a patient's cells, telling them to begin producing a protein normally found on the outside of the virus. When the patient's body senses that viral protein, it activates an immune response.
These mRNA vaccines can be manufactured quickly but could face more distribution challenges and may be slower to distribute than the Oxford vaccine, ABC News reports.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both need to be stored and transported in a frozen state -- Pfizer/BioNTech around -94 degrees Fahrenheit and Moderna's at -4 degrees Fahrenheit -- which may be problematic in certain parts of the world.
The Oxford University vaccine, however would only need standard refrigeration, making it easier to ship and house, should it prove successful.
In any case, as the global community struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes are on researchers and potentially life-saving vaccines they're working to develop.
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