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AZ/Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine to be evaluated in children and young adults

First study to assess the safety and immune response of the vaccine in children

Oxford University has launched the first study of its AstraZeneca-partnered COVID-19 vaccine in children and young adults aged six to 17 years old.

The new phase 2 trial will enrol 300 participants, with up to 240 of these volunteers receiving the vaccine – known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222 – while the remainder will be given a control meningitis vaccine.

The trial will assess if the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 can produce a good immune response in children and young adults.

The study, which launched last Friday, will begin the first vaccinations in February. It is funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and AstraZeneca (AZ).

“While most children are relatively unaffected by coronavirus and are unlikely to become unwell with the infection, it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination,” said Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial.

“These new trials will extend our understanding of control of SARS-CoV2 to younger age groups,” he added.

New data, published in a preprint with The Lancet, reported that the efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine was higher after the second dose in those with a dosing interval of 12 weeks or more.

Initial data showed that a half dose, followed by a full dose offered 90% protection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

AZ also reported that the Oxford-partnered vaccine is 75% effective in protecting against the virus after the first dose, with the new data confirming that the jab was 100% effective in preventing hospitalisations or severe illness ten days after people had received the first dose.

The updated data also showed that the AZ/Oxford vaccine can reduce the likelihood of people catching and passing on the virus, which could significantly slow the spread of the virus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound negative impact on the education, social development and emotional well-being of children and adolescents, beyond illness and rare severe disease presentations,” said Rinn Song, paediatrician and clinician-scientist, Oxford Vaccine Group.

“It is therefore important to collect data on the safety and the immune response to our coronavirus vaccine in these age groups, so that they could potentially benefit from inclusion in vaccination programs in the near future,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

15th February 2021

From: Research



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