Oxford coronavirus vaccine breakthrough in 'adults over 60' - strong immune response

Brenda Watkins
November 19, 2020

He said Butantan expects to have 46 million doses ready in January pending approval of the vaccine by Brazil's health regulator Anvisa.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is not mincing words when it comes to the allocation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. This news was welcomed by the team at Oxford University as a significant next step in its path to producing a viable vaccine against COVID-19, and is particularly important as the elderly demographic is among the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.

Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, has inked deals with Oxford-AstraZeneca, Codagenix and Novavax to manufacture their vaccines.

Dr Andrew Pollard, an expert in paediatric infection and immunity at Oxford, said research was slowed by low infection rates over the summer, but the Phase III trials are now accumulating the data needed to report results as a renewed surge of the coronavirus pandemic hits countries around the world. "We have to protect the progress we've made and the anti-vaccination movement is a threat to that progress".

In a statement, the Lancet said that Moderna's vaccine has shown similar immune responses in young and older adults, but noted that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine showed a less robust response in older adults compared to their younger counterparts.

The study appears nearly simultaneously with the findings of two other vaccines, Pfizer-BioNtech (United States-Germany) and Moderna (United States), which have reported efficiency levels of 90 and 95 per cent respectively in phase 3 trials.

What are the vaccines now in the news?

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Sinovac Biotech Ltd. researchers have published data from early trials showing their vaccine is safe for healthy people to take, and that it sparks an immune response, though the company has yet to determine if it stops people from catching Covid-19.

The two-dose regimen required for the leading vaccine candidates mean that about 15 billion doses could be required to inoculate the global population.

Between the phase 1 and phase 2 trials, the researchers changed the manufacturing process of the vaccine to increase production capacity.

Has any of the Indian vaccines released interim results yet and which ones are likely to finish trials first?

Pfizer has a football field-sized facility for storing finished Covid-19 vaccines at about -70degC.

Logistical challenges facing the Centre in administering the vaccine comprises cold chain systems for proper transportation and storage. Storage of the vaccine at specific temperatures will be a major hurdle since vaccine candidates in contention have different storage requirements. Moderna's vaccine can last for a month in a normal fridge or six months if stored at minus 20 Celsius.

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