Oxford vaccine group: SL-born doctor an investigator

Sri Lankan-born consultant physician Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy is an investigator in the Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Group, The Guardian reported.

The University of Oxford is expected to release data on the efficacy of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in the coming weeks, with the latest trial results suggesting it produces a strong immune response in older adults.

“Older adults are a priority group for the Covid-19 vaccination because they are at increased risk of severe disease, but we know that they tend to have poorer vaccine responses.

“We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers. The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself,” Dr. Ramasamy said.

Researchers say their findings are promising as they show that older people are having a similar immune response to younger adults.

“The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in older people in our study are encouraging. The populations at greatest risk of serious Covid-19 disease include people with existing health conditions and older adults. We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but further research will be needed before we can be sure,” Ramasamy added.

Meanwhile, Lead Author Prof Andrew Pollard from the University of Oxford said: “Immune responses from vaccines are often lessened in older adults because the immune system gradually deteriorates with age, which also leaves older adults more susceptible to infections. As a result, it is crucial that Covid-19 vaccines are tested in this group who are also a priority group for immunisation.”

The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and over 70.

Phase II data published in The Lancet suggests one of the groups most vulnerable to serious illness and death from Covid-19 could build immunity, researchers say.

According to the researchers, the trial demonstrated similar immune responses across all three age groups: 18-55, 56-69, and 70 and over.