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Coronavirus I The Oxford vaccine, safe in healthy older people

The search for an effective vaccine continues around the world and clinical trials continue to advance. In recent days, Pfizer, BioNTech and Russia’s Sputnik V have announced the high effectiveness of their candidate drugs and, also, the Janssen vaccine has confirmed the phase III of its trials in Spain, among eight other countries.

This Thursday, the Oxford-AstraZeneca has also communicated new news, and that is your medicine has advanced into the second phase of clinical trials, in which it has shown that it is safe in healthy elderly people in whom it provides a certain immunity.

240 volunteers over 70 years old

This has been reported by the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ who has published the recent results of the name antidote ChAdOx1 nCoV-19: “The promising preliminary results indicate that this vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus offers similar safety and immunogenicity results in healthy older adults than in those between 18 and 55 years old “, the experts detail in the report.

The researchers conducted the drug trial in 560 healthy adults, among which were 240 patients over 70 years. After the phase II trials in these people, ‘The Lancet’ publishes: “The antidote causes few side effects and induces an immune response in both parts of the immune system in all age groups at both a low and standard dose.”

Among the volunteers were also 160 people between 18 and 55 years old; 160 individuals between 56 and 59 years old. All of them presented good health before undergoing the study. It is important to note that en this study the efficacy of the vaccine to protect against the virus has not been measured, a matter that will be analyzed in the next phase.

Antibody response

According to the study, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 generates a T cell response (those that attack cells infected by the virus) 14 days after the first dose. This vaccine candidate also offers a antibody response 28 days after the second injection or booster dose, which attacks the virus when it circulates through the blood or lymphatic system.

The vaccine induced antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein (protein S) 28 days after a first low or standard dose in all age groups. After the booster vaccination, the antibody level increased 56 days after the start of the experiment, and the same happened with the neutralizing antibodies 42 days later.

Mild side effects

Those responsible for the study note that the side effects of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate were mild. LVolunteers who detected any symptoms speak of pain from the injection, fatigue, headache, fever or muscle pain.

Researchers have noted that these side effects were more common in the younger age group than in adults over 70. Still they assure that the immune response was similar in all age groups after the booster dose.

Phase III, underway

But despite these magnificent results in phase II, the study authors warn that these results have to be confirmed in phase III already underway. In this latest test to see if the drug is effective, scientists will find out “To what extent is the vaccine effective in protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a broader and more heterogeneous group of people, including elderly people with previous pathologies”.

Protection in the elderly

Sarah Gilbert, the virologist leading the research team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, states: “This study answers some of the questions raised by the World Health Organization (WHO) about the need for COVID vaccines to protect older adults.”

“There are still other questions to be answered about the efficacy and duration of protection, and the vaccine should also be tested in older people with pathologies to ensure that it protects those who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill”, concludes the expert.