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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in older adults

Early trial data from small group is encouraging

Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine has shown promise in an early trial involving a small group of elderly participants, the company announced in a presentation today.

The biotech’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, was tested on ten adults between the ages of 56 and 70, and ten adults aged 71 and older. Participants received two 100µg doses of the shot, administered 28 days apart.

The early results show that Moderna’s vaccine produced encouraging levels of neutralising antibodies and T cell responses in the elderly participants, with no serious adverse events reported in this patient group.

Moderna’s shot also produced superior antibody levels in study participants compared to the levels seen in recovered COVID-19 patients.

Neutralising antibodies, while not definite proof that a vaccine is effective, are important in early clinical development and are an indicator of efficacy against infectious diseases like COVID-19.

This news is particularly important given the concerns surrounding the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccine in the older population, as the elderly are likely to have a weaker immune system than younger people.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, older adults were identified as having a higher risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 than younger people. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can also prove more challenging to find a vaccine that is effective for older adults.

In the same presentation, Moderna also announced that 25-40% of its phase 3 trail subjects will either be over the age of 65 or at an increased risk of developing complications from COVID-19.

The clinical development of mRNA-1273 is being carried out in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with Moderna having previously been selected to take part in the US government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative for the development of a successful COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of Operation Warp Speed, Moderna will receive up to $1.5bn for advancing the development and manufacture of 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.

A number of other companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novavax, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, have signed similar deals with the US government.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

27th August 2020

From: Research

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