Nine in ten people over 80 years old still had strong signs of coronavirus immunity six weeks after their first dose of vaccine. This is what a study found.
And both AstraZeneca’s and Pfizer’s bumps are equally good at forcing the body to make antibodies that can fight off the disease.
Research from the University of Birmingham shows that the UK’s game of weeding cans works in the real world. It also proves that it works in the elderly, who are known to have weaker immune systems and are less responsive to vaccines.
The study also found that AstraZeneca’s bump triggered a slightly longer lasting response from white blood cells, which is another crucial part of the immune system. However, the levels are increased by the second push.
Dr. Helen Parry and Professor Paul Moss, who conducted the research, said understanding what happens after a dose gives an idea of what protection people have now.
Of 32.3 million people vaccinated across the UK, only 7.9 million had their second sting because the gap between them was to be extended to 12 weeks.
This study shows that most people show signs of permanent protection from the virus, even if they don’t receive a second dose within three weeks as in studies.
When testing the blood of 165 people for Covid antibodies, it was found that 93 percent of people had the virus-fighting proteins five to six weeks after their first Pfizer sting and 87 percent according to AstraZeneca.
The latest research from the University of Birmingham shows that Covid vaccines are successful in the real world and are suitable for older people who are known to have weaker immune systems and are less responsive to vaccines
“These vaccines are synonymous with post-dose protection,” said Professor Moss.
“They’re equivalent and both vaccines are good.”
The percentage of people with antibodies shows that most people’s immune systems are responsive to the vaccines, but cannot tell us how well protected they are because scientists don’t know exactly how the body is stopping the virus.
However, it appears that people develop significant signs of immunity beyond the three-week target date set by the manufacturers.
Britain tossed that advice out the window and doesn’t give people their second push until 12 weeks after the first.
The study adds to evidence that this step was the right one, with people’s immunity lasting well over three weeks and even improving over time.
SCIENTISTS WIDEN MIX-AND-MATCH VACCINE TRIAL
Coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Novavax will be added to a “mix and match” study, scientists said today.
The UK medical regulator is currently mandating that everyone be given two doses of the same dose, currently either AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna.
However, experts at Oxford University are testing whether a dose other than the first dose can produce a stronger immune response.
In their attempt, which could revolutionize the introduction of the UK, the effects of combining doses have already been studied by AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Another 1,000 volunteers are now being recruited into the study to test combinations including vaccines from Moderna and Novavax.
Experts say that mixing bumps is unlikely to raise safety concerns, and that doing so could make shots even more effective at preventing infection with the virus.
Following AstraZeneca’s fears of blood clots, France approved to give recipients an alternative second dose. Germany took the same step for those under 60.
But until evidence is gathered, they cannot say for sure if it works or if it is safe.
The UK has only recommended offering an alternative to those under 30, and anyone who has already received their first dose should sign up for the second unless they have experienced the extremely rare complication.
Oxford’s mix-and-match test was first launched in February.
Dr. Parry said, “We know that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines have good real-world efficacy, but we also need to understand the underlying immune responses they generate.
‘This is especially true with regard to the extended dose planning of up to 12 weeks between vaccinations and its effects in the elderly.
“In our study, we were able to detect antibody reactions in most people aged 80 and over five weeks after a single dose.”
She added in a briefing today, “It is encouraging but it is not known exactly what level of clinical protection will give you.”
Some people who test positive for antibodies can still become infected and sick if their immune response isn’t strong enough – the likelihood or danger of this happening is still a mystery to scientists.
The Birmingham study, carried out with the UK’s Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, looked at the blood of 165 people over the age of 80.
Each had received a dose of coronavirus vaccine between five and six weeks prior to their blood test: 76 with the Pfizer push and 89 with AstraZeneca.
The tests looked for virus-fighting substances called antibodies, which they found in about nine out of ten people, and for white blood cells called T cells, which were less common.
Only 12 percent of people had developed a T-cell response, which was shown in blood tests after the Pfizer stab, compared with 31 percent according to AstraZeneca.
Although the numbers seem low, Dr. Parry and Professor Moss, they don’t know exactly what this means for a person’s real protection against Covid.
And the fact that levels were undetectable doesn’t mean they weren’t there or that someone doesn’t have any other type of immunity.
T cells tend to take longer to develop – they also last longer – and are not believed to be the main protection against the virus.
“We believe that antibodies against infections and reinfections may be more important,” said Professor Moss.
“Ninety percent developed an antibody response, and that’s the takeaway message from this study.”
Another result of the study by Professor Moss and Dr. Parry was that people who have been infected with coronavirus in the past had a much stronger immune response to the vaccine.
Only eight people in the study were in this category, but blood tests found they produced over 600 times as many antibodies as people who never had Covid.
Professor Eleanor Riley, an immunologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the research, said, “However, the much higher immune responses in people who previously had Covid-19 indicate that the immune system is stimulated twice – in this case by infection and then by vaccination – induces a much stronger and probably much longer lasting response.
“Assuming that a similar effect can be observed after two vaccinations, as expected from the clinical trial data, this underscores the importance of the second vaccination.”
The study was published online at Preprints with The Lancet.