The Modera vaccine produces antibodies that neutralize the virus in the elderly as effectively as young people, with side effects such as high dose influenza vaccination.
This is the initial safety study results of the Moderna pharmaceutical company, led by Dr. Evan Anderson, Emory University, published on September 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings open up a more comprehensive view of the safety of the vaccine in older adults, who are at high risk of serious complications with nCoV infection.
“From this result we can be more assured because the immune system often weakens with age,” Anderson said in a phone interview.
Moderna tested the vaccine with two doses of 25 mcg and 110 mcg on 40 people 56 years of age and older. The study is an extension of the one-carrier’s phase safety trial conducted on volunteers aged 18-55.
The scientists found that in the group that received two injections of 100 mcg 28 days apart, the vaccine produced an immune response that closely resembled that observed in young people.
Moderna is clinically testing a three-phase 250 mcg vaccine on a larger scale. This is the final stage before pharmacies apply for urgent approval.
Side effects of the Moderna vaccine include headache, fatigue, body aches, chills and pain at the injection site, of mild to moderate severity.
However, at least two volunteers had a serious reaction after the mild vaccine injection. A person has a third degree fever, body temperature above 39 degrees Celsius. A person has severe fatigue symptoms, unable to perform daily activities.
“This is similar to what many older people encounter when they get a high dose flu vaccine,” Anderson said. “They may feel tired or have a fever.”
Norman Hulme, 65, who lives in Emory, was one of the people who received the mild dose Moderna vaccine. He said he felt the need to join the trial after watching people on the anti-epidemic front lines in New York and Washington face Covid-19.
“I really don’t have any side effects,” Hulme said. “I know Moderna uses a new technology and can take risks. But someone needs to test this new technology.”
Le Hang (Follow Reuters)