A new coronavirus or COVID-19 vaccine is currently showing promising results and 'appears safe', as per the results from an early safety study. The research by Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine in older adults showed that it made virus-neutralizing antibodies at the levels similar to those witnessed in younger adults. This means that older people might get coronavirus immunity.
Scientists said on Tuesday that the side effects are roughly on par with the high-dose flu shots. The research published in the New England Journal of Medicine gives a more complete idea of the safety of the vaccine in the case of older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications due to the deadly disease.
The study is reassuring as the immunity tends to get weak with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the lead researchers of the study from the Emory University in Atlanta mentioned in a phone interview. The research was an extension of Moderna's Phase I trial, first conducted in people aged 18-55.
It tested two doses of the vaccine by Moderna, 25 micrograms, and 100 micrograms, in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older. The team found that in the case of older adults who recovered after two injections of the 100 microgram dose 28 days apart, the vaccine produced immune responses like that of younger adults.
COVID-19 Vaccine Trial
Moderna is currently testing a higher dose in a Phase III trial, the final stage ahead of seeking emergency authorization or approval. The side effects including headache, fatigue, chills, body aches, and injection site pain were held as mild to moderate.
In at least two cases, volunteers witnessed severe reactions. One developed a grade three fever that is classified as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or above after getting the lower dose of vaccine. Another person developed severe fatigue and it temporarily prevented regular activities, as per Anderson.
The side effects occurred just after getting the vaccine and resolved fast, he mentioned. "This is similar to what a lot of older adults are going to experience with the high dose influenza vaccine. They might feel off or have a fever," Anderson said as reported by Daily Star.
The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 33.5 million people globally and claimed the lives of over 1.06 million people worldwide in more than 170 nations. An effective vaccine is expected by the first quarter of 2021.