Oxford COVID-19 vaccine sees 'encouraging' results in healthy older adults

Updated: 20 November, 2020 10:12 IST | Agencies | London

This means there are now four promising COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon after Sputnik, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna already reporting good preliminary data from Phase 3 trials

A patient receives oxygen in a hospital in Idlib, Syria, on Saturday. The region is now recording 300-500 cases a day. Infection rates jumped nearly twentyfold between September and October, the UN said. Since then, it has climbed 300%, with nearly 11,900 cases recorded by Nov. 16, up from 8,100 a week earlier. Pic/AP
A patient receives oxygen in a hospital in Idlib, Syria, on Saturday. The region is now recording 300-500 cases a day. Infection rates jumped nearly twentyfold between September and October, the UN said. Since then, it has climbed 300%, with nearly 11,900 cases recorded by Nov. 16, up from 8,100 a week earlier. Pic/AP

The coronavirus vaccine developed by teams at the University of Oxford has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and those over 70 years of age.

The findings published in 'Lancet' on Thursday based on 560 healthy adult volunteers shows that the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is "safe and well tolerated" with a lower reactogenicity profile in older adults than in younger adults, meaning the older age groups could build immunity to the disease.

"These findings are encouraging because older individuals are at disproportionate risk of severe COVID-19 and so any vaccine adopted for use against SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] must be effective in older adults," the researchers note.

The teams are also testing if the vaccine stops people developing COVID-19 in larger Phase 3 trials and early results from this crucial stage are expected in the coming weeks. "We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers," said Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, an investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group.

"The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself," she said. This means there are now four promising vaccines on the horizon after Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna already reporting good preliminary data from Phase 3 trials.

The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, being manufactured by pharma major AstraZeneca. The vaccine also has a tie-up with the Serum Institute of India. Crucially, the study also found no "suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions" during this stage of the trial.

Japan records 2,000-plus cases for first time since pandemic began

Japan's number of reported coronavirus infections hit a record high in numbers released on Thursday, and the prime minister urged maximum caution but stopped short of calling for restrictions on travel or business.

The Health Ministry reported 2,179 new cases, the first time Japan has seen more than 2,000 new daily cases since the pandemic began. The previous high for new cases was 1,723 on November 14.

Japan has seen an uptick in cases in recent days, with record highs both nationally and in Tokyo, the country's largest city. The nationwide spikes are also alarming experts ahead of an upcoming three-day weekend and the winter holiday season. It has a total of 1,22,966 cases, with 1,922 deaths.

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First Published: 20 November, 2020 07:59 IST

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