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COVIDSCIENCE-Vaccine response may be weak in the elderly.Merck’s medicine is promising to lower virus levels


March 8 (Reuters)-The following is a summary of some of the latest scientific research on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for the virus-induced disease COVID-19.

Vaccine response appears weak in the elderly

New data suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE weakens the immune response in older people compared to younger and middle-aged adults. The researchers studied 91 vaccine recipients under the age of 60 and 85 recipients over the age of 80. Seventeen days after the second dose of the second dose, nearly one-third (31%) of older recipients did not have antibodies that could neutralize the virus. This is true for only 2% of the younger group, and researchers reported on medRxiv on Friday prior to peer review. Even among people under the age of 60, only 16% had neutralizing antibodies after the first dose, the researchers found. “But that doesn’t mean we need to anticipate serious complications if the elderly become infected,” said Altwin Adams, co-author of the Düsseldorf University Hospital in Germany. “Recent reports from Israel, England and Scotland show that even after the first COVID-19 vaccination and people over the age of 80, hospitalization rates and progression of serious illness are significantly higher than without vaccination. It’s low, “said Adams. “But that could mean that older people need to be re-vaccinated earlier than younger people to create long-term protection. The results are also some older people after vaccination. It suggests that even a person may be infected. ”It should be continued to effectively prevent infection. “(((

Merck’s antivirals may help speed up viral clearance

According to preliminary results from clinical trials, antivirals being developed by Merck & Co and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics may help reduce viral load in early-stage COVID-19 patients. Researchers presented their findings at the 2021 conference on retroviruses and opportunistic infections on Saturday, but did not publish a formal report. In a study of 202 patients, those who were not hospitalized within 7 days received either the oral antiviral drug molnupiravir or placebo. Data from less than half of the study participants showed that all 47 patients who took molnupiravir were positive compared to 6 (24%) of the 25 patients who took placebo after 5 days of treatment. Did not show virus culture. Merck said data on the safety and efficacy of the drug and additional secondary objectives of the study will be presented at the next medical conference. (((

Immune memory boosts vaccine response in COVID-19 survivors

The new data provide clues as to why some COVID-19 survivors require a single dose of the two-dose Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna Inc vaccines. The researchers followed 11 survivors of mild COVID-19 and 33 uninfected vaccine responses. Everyone has induced the immune system to memorize the virus and produce antibodies with so-called B cells that are ready to produce new antibodies to fight the virus, but in response to B cells. The size was low in the elderly. Previously uninfected “beneficial of both doses” and increased antibody and memory B cells after the second shot were reported in medRxiv on Saturday prior to peer review. However, survivors of COVID-19 responded significantly to the first dose, with no increase in antibody or memory B cells after the second dose. John Wellie, co-author of the University of Pennsylvania, said that pre-vaccination survivor memory B cell levels were strongly correlated with post-vaccination antibody levels: “Only one injection of these B cells. Indicates that the survivors are likely to have elevated antibody levels. ” .. He added that this suggests that memory B cells play an important role when antibody levels decline over time. He speculated that Memory B cells could play a role in immunity against mutant viruses because they could be a source of new antibodies with some “adaptability.” (((

Open In an external browser with Reuters graphics on vaccines under development.

Report by Nancy Rapid; Edited by Bill Berkrot


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