Moderna COVID-19 vaccine generates immune response in older adults, study finds

A Phase 1 trial of a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus has shown promising results.

A study, published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the experimental vaccine developed by NIAID and Moderna Inc. was well-tolerated and generated a strong immune response on older adults.

Modern’s Phase 1 trial, which started in March, enrolled 40 healthy volunteers: 20 adults 56-70 years old and 20 adults 71 years and older.

“Older adults are more vulnerable to complications of COVID-19 and are an important population for vaccination. Understanding how the vaccine affects older adults is a critical part of measuring its safety and efficacy,” the report said.

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Ten volunteers in each age group received a lower dose of the vaccine, and 10 volunteers in each age group received a higher dose. After approximately one month, volunteers then received a second dose of the same vaccine at the same dosage.

Throughout the study, volunteers attended clinic visits to track their responses to the vaccine and assess safety. Researchers found that the vaccine that the volunteers exhibited a good immune response to the vaccine.

“The blood of vaccinated volunteers contained robust binding and neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, the immune response to the vaccine seen in older volunteers was comparable to that seen in younger age groups,” the report stated.

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Despite some transient adverse effects, including fever and fatigue after vaccination, researchers found that the vaccine was well-tolerated.

According to researchers, the Phase 1 trial results further support the current testing of the investigational vaccine in older adults in the ongoing Phase 3 trial.

The Moderna vaccine study will continue to follow the volunteers for about one year after the second vaccination to monitor the vaccine’s long-term effects.