Covid vaccine may not work on elders: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 25, 2020 Published on June 25, 2020

A lab technician inspects filled vials of investigational coronavirus disease (Covid-19) treatment drug remdesivir at a Gilead Sciences facility in La Verne, California (file pic)   -  via REUTERS

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and supported by AstraZeneca Pl, whose trials are being conducted in Brazil, may not be effective for older people who are in a critical condition due to Covid-19, scientists warned, as per the TimesNow report.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus can affect anyone, however, older adults and people with co-morbidities might be at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the respiratory illness. Researchers across the world are racing to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. However, health experts are worried about whether the coronavirus vaccines currently being developed may work on the elderly.

The human trials of the vaccine is being conducted on around 3,000 individuals. According to the sponsor Lemann Foundation, the vaccine will be tested on 2,000 health workers in Sao Paulo and 1,000 people in Rio de Janeiro. Scientists said that they expect to launch the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa approved human clinical trials for the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine in the country, that is second-worst affected country in the world. Brazil is the first country outside the United Kingdom to begin testing the Oxford-developed adenovirus vaccine.

Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has now claimed at least 473,475 lives and infected as many as 9,161,460 people worldwide.

Arne Akbar, professor of immunology at UCL and President of the British Society of Immunology, urged scientists to find out the reason behind why the vaccine is unable to boost the immune system of the elderly.

“One thing that’s apparent, even in healthy older people, is that there’s more inflammation all around the body. We need to understand where that inflammation is coming from. And this baseline inflammation in older people is linked to frailty and many negative outcomes as we get older. And this seems to be exacerbated when you get a severe infection like Covid-19,” he said quoted as saying in the TimesNow report. “But what is the source of the inflammation in the first place? That’s something that we really need to get to grips with.”

Published on June 25, 2020
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