Moderna Says Covid-19 Vaccine Shows Signs of Working in Older Adults | #dating | #elderly | #seniors
Older adults are at higher risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 than younger people. While Moderna and other companies are racing to develop vaccines to protect people from the new coronavirus, some experts have been concerned that vaccines won’t offer as much protection in older adults.
The immune system generally weakens with age, which can make it harder for a vaccine to induce a sufficient immune response against disease.
Moderna had released results from its first human study of its vaccine showing that it induced immune responses and was generally safe and well-tolerated in adults ages 18 to 55. The study, led by the National Institutes of Health, was expanded to include people over the age of 55.
In Moderna’s Phase 1 study, volunteers received two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. Moderna added to the trial subjects who were 56 years and older to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in the older age groups.
About four weeks after the second shot, the 20 subjects in the trial who were 56 years and older developed what are called neutralizing antibodies—agents of the immune system that fight the virus—in ranges overlapping with those between the ages 18 to 55, according to interim data Moderna presented Wednesday to a committee of outside experts to advise the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine policy.
The 20 subjects received the dose level of the Moderna vaccine that has been advanced to a late-stage, Phase 3 study. Some other older-adult subjects in the first study received different dose levels that aren’t being advanced in testing.
The median antibody levels in all age groups were above those found in the blood of people who had recovered from Covid-19, Moderna said. Researchers view antibody levels in recovered patients as a potential clue to the kind of immune response needed for someone to beat back infection.
“It seems to be emerging that 1273 might be as protective in the elderly, based on the neutralizing antibodies, as it is in the younger adults,” Moderna Chief Executive
said, referring to the company’s number for its vaccine.
The study wasn’t designed to track whether the vaccine prevented infection or disease in study subjects.
Moderna said the vaccine was well-tolerated across age groups. Some study subjects experienced fatigue, fever and chills, as well as injection-site pain. Most were mild or moderate, Moderna said.
Moderna, based in Cambridge, Mass., said it plans to submit the results for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Walter A. Orenstein,
professor and associate director at Emory University’s Vaccine Center, said the neutralizing antibody results for Moderna’s vaccine in older adults are encouraging, but it is too soon to say whether that will translate into actual protection from disease. That won’t be known until efficacy results of later-stage testing become available, he said.
The company has started a large, pivotal trial aimed at assessing whether the immune responses translate into actual protection from Covid-19 disease. So far, Moderna has enrolled more than 15,200 volunteers—toward a goal of 30,000—who are receiving either the vaccine or a placebo.
Researchers will track whether the rate of symptomatic Covid-19 is lower among vaccinated people than in unvaccinated people.
Moderna says it is possible it will have interim efficacy results from the large trial as early as October, which, if positive, could support U.S. authorization of emergency use of the vaccine.
Earlier this month, Moderna said it had agreed to provide 100 million doses to the U.S. government for $1.5 billion. Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. has an option to buy another 400 million doses.
released additional results of their experimental coronavirus vaccine, including its effect in older adults. Researchers found it induced neutralizing antibodies to the virus, at levels that were more pronounced in people ages 18 to 55 than in people 65 to 85.
The responses in the older subjects were still higher than antibody levels seen in the plasma of people who had recovered from Covid-19, the company said.
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