Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine could potentially induce as strong an immune response in older people as it does in younger adults, a small study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found.
The study found the vaccine triggered a response almost as strong in people over 56 as in adults between the ages of 18 and 55. Older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Moderna study was conducted by researchers at Emory University and tested the vaccine in groups of 20 people, including one made up of people aged 56-70 and one of people 71 and over. According to the study, their response was similar to previous findings among age groups between 18-55.
“These interim results are very encouraging,” Evan Anderson, a professor of infectious disease at Emory University Medical School and lead author on the paper, said in a statement.
“While there is still a lot of work to do before we have a vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, this study provides critical information about the safety of the vaccine. Importantly, the vaccine resulted in a robust immune response.”
Moderna is one of a handful of companies working on a vaccine and is now in phase three clinical trials in the United States.