Adenoviral COVID-19 Vaccine Elicits Robust Immunity in Elderly Cohort

In a trending new study, researchers investigated the efficacy of an adenoviral-based COVID-19 vaccine in elderly patients.

Adenoviral COVID-19 Vaccine Elicits Robust Immunity in Elderly Cohort
Adenoviral COVID-19 Vaccine Elicits Robust Immunity in Elderly Cohort

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Around the world, more than 180 COVID-19 vaccines are currently in production or development. Some COVID-19 vaccines have been less effective in the elderly—a population that is already highly vulnerable to severe viral infection. Humoral immunity, or antibody-mediated immunity, is an important weapon against COVID-19. Immune responses in the elderly are often hindered by aging, an unfortunate process known as age-related immunosenescence. Vaccines that can successfully elicit a robust humoral immune response in the elderly are critical for achieving COVID-19 immunity and interrupting disease transmission in this population.

“The development of an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 targeted for an elder population is a challenge [17]. Furthermore, there is limited data describing the behavior of COVID-19 vaccines when administered to the elderly.”

Sputnik V

The two most widely available vaccines in the United States are both mRNA vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Of course, there are other vaccines that are more commonly available in other countries, such as Gam-COVID-Vac, or Sputnik V. Sputnik V is an adenoviral-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. 

“Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V), uses a heterologous recombinant adenovirus 26 (Ad26) and adenovirus 5 (Ad5) as vectors that deliver the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, has been administered to tens of millions of volunteers worldwide, and has a good tolerability profile [14, 15].”

Adenoviral-based vaccines use a weakened form of a common cold virus (adenovirus) to deliver the genetic instructions for making the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. When these instructions are delivered to human cells, they cause the cells to produce the spike protein. The body then produces antibodies against the spike protein, which provides immunity against SARS-CoV-2. In early 2021, Sputnik V was the only vaccine available to the elderly in Argentina. The ability of this particular vaccine to elicit humoral immunity in this elderly population had yet to be fully investigated.

The Study

In a new study, researchers Rodrigo Hernán Tomas-Grau, Carolina Maldonado-Galdeano, Mónica Aguilar López, Esteban Vera Pingitore, Patricia Aznar, María Elena Alcorta, Eva María del Mar Vélez, Agustín Stagnetto, Silvana Estefanía Soliz-Santander, César Luís Ávila, Sergio Benjamín Socias, Dardo Costas, Rossana Elena Chahla, Gabriela Perdigón, Rosana Nieves Chehín, Diego Ploper, and Silvia Inés Cazorla from Instituto de Investigación en Medicina Molecular y Celular AplicadaCentro de Referencia para LactobacilosPublic Healthcare Administration (SIPROSA), and Néstor Kirchner Hospital investigated whether Gam-COVID-Vac could induce a robust humoral immunoresponse in elderly patients. On September 21, 2022, their research paper was published in Aging’s Volume 14, Issue 18, entitled, “Humoral immunoresponse elicited against an adenoviral-based SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus vaccine in elderly patients.”

In this study, 149 volunteers between 70 and 96 years old received two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine between December 2020 and February 2021. The researchers took blood samples from the participants before vaccination and 14, 28, 90, and 180 days post-vaccination (dpv). The researchers used the blood samples to analyze the humoral immune responses (antibodies) that were elicited by Sputnik V.

Results & Conclusion

The results showed that Sputnik V elicited robust anti-RBD immune responses in the elderly volunteers. The researchers found that the younger participants and the participants with previous COVID-19 infection had higher anti-RBD immune responses. They also found that humoral immune responses did not vary by gender at early time points. However, concentrations of antibodies were more persistent in elderly females than males at 60 dpv, and only dropped at 90 dpv.

“Our results show that Gam-COVID-Vac was able to deal with the ageing of the immune system, eliciting a robust immune response in an elderly cohort, which lasted approximately 90 dpv at high levels, and protected against COVID-19.”

Immunization with Sputnik V may be a promising vaccine for the prevention of severe COVID-19 disease in elderly patients. This suggests that adenoviral-based vaccines could be a safe and effective option for protecting elderly patients against COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases. However, additional studies are needed to further evaluate the safety profile and efficacy of this vaccine in elderly patients. If this vaccine proves to be effective in preventing COVID-19 in the elderly, it could have a profound impact on public health.

“As the aging population is increasing globally, especially in developed countries, vaccine efforts must consider age-related issues in order to ensure effectiveness. Ongoing studies will provide data regarding the best strategy to strengthen and prolong the protective immune response against COVID-19 in the elder population, challenging the immunosenescence process, to ameliorate the severity of the disease and avoid the SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Click here to read the full research paper published by Aging.

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Aging is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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