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Moderna covid-19 vaccine shows positive results in older adults, says study

Published on:1 October 2020, 14:11pm IST
If you’ve been wondering what’s happening with the Moderna covid-19 vaccine, then here’s some good news: the vaccine can generate a strong immune response in older adults.
Team Health Shots
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All eyes on the Moderna covid-19 vaccine. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here’s some good news that we all can do with: the Moderna covid-19 vaccine we all have been waiting for is showing promising results during clinical trials.

The results from the first phase of the Moderna vaccine, which is being co-developed by researchers at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), show that the vaccine is well-tolerated in research participants—and is even generating strong immune response in older adults.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, noted that the experimental vaccine, mRNA-1273, was well-tolerated by the older trial participants, who were over 55 years of age.

Since the pandemic began, we have known that older adults are more vulnerable to the complications of covid-19—and hence, we need a vaccine that can cater to them.

Moderna covid-19 vaccine
The efficacy of covid-19 vaccine is under scanner, according to recent studies. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

This is how the first phase of the Moderna covid-19 vaccine is progressing
The phase 1 trial began on March 16, 2020, and was expanded to enroll older adults about one month later. In its expansion, the scientists said the trial enrolled 40 healthy volunteers—20 adults ages 56 to 70 years, and 20 adults ages 71 years and older.

Ten volunteers in each age group received a lower dose of the vaccine, and 10 participants in each age group received a higher dose. After approximately one month, the researchers said the volunteers received a second dose of the same vaccine at the same dosage. They said the volunteers attended clinic visits to track their responses to the vaccine, and assess safety throughout the study.

The research found that the investigational vaccine was well-tolerated in this older age group—although some volunteers experienced transient adverse effects, including fever and fatigue after vaccination. According to the scientists, the participants exhibited a good immune response to the vaccine, with the blood of vaccinated volunteers containing robust binding and neutralising antibodies against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

They said the immune response to the vaccine seen in older volunteers was comparable to that seen in younger age groups.

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The researchers said the study will continue to follow the older volunteers for approximately a year after second vaccination to monitor the long-term effects of the vaccine.

The results from the phase 1 trial further support testing of the investigational vaccine in older adults in an ongoing large phase 3 trial, they added.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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