Japanese researchers claim that the elderly exhibit a poor immunological response to the third m RNA booster shot for COVID-19
Numerous people have died as a result of the coronavirus 2019 sickness (COVID-19) epidemic, which has afflicted millions globally. Over 60-year-olds remain the most vulnerable demographic. They were more likely to catch the virus, and many of them ended up dying from it. Unfortunately, a sizable section of the older population worldwide depends on long-term care facilities (LTCF) and day-care centres for the elderly, which have now emerged as possible sources of virus transmission.
The most recent vaccines and boosters have proven to be effective defences against COVID-19. They stimulate the immune system of the body and cause the creation of antibodies that will neutralise the virus. The body’s fight against the virus is maintained by strategically timed booster doses of the vaccination. By evaluating the titer or concentration of antibodies circulating in the body of the individual who received the vaccination, it is possible to evaluate the level of this defence, also known as vaccine-induced immunological activation.
It has been hypothesised that despite vaccination and boosters, protection in sensitive groups may be weakened. Researchers led by Prof. Masanori Nakayama of the Organization for Research Strategy and Development at Okayama University and Dr. Hideharu Hagiya of the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine set out to evaluate the body’s immune response in elderly Japanese who had received their third vaccination dose in order to comprehend the risk in the population of elderly people who had received vaccinations. Prof. Nakayama explains the driving force for their work by saying, “Despite immunizations, many elderly people in Japan are getting sick during cluster outbreaks, some of which are catastrophic. We therefore felt the necessity to look at the elderly’s antibody titers following the mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccine.
After the third booster shot had been given, the team examined antibody titers against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. 1,046 elderly participants from 23 different care facilities were enrolled in the study. At least six months before to the commencement of the research, each participant had received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine. For greater clarity, a comparison of the antibody titers in young and old people was made.
For titer analysis, blood is typically collected from the veins, which can be challenging and uncomfortable for elderly people. The researchers came up with a novel solution to this issue by estimating the antibody titers from blood collected only from the fingertips. For the point-of-care fingertip whole blood assay, they employed the “Mokobio SARS-CoV-2 IgM & IgG Quantum Dot immunoassay” and discovered that the antibody titers were evenly distributed in each age group examined.
The findings showed that as people aged, the number and percentage of non-responders—those with antibody titers below 1000 U/mL at any test time following vaccination—rose. Despite getting an additional dosage of the vaccination, less than 10% of the individuals produced any antibodies. Additionally, compared to those who received the third booster dosage, the antibody titers tested after a month among COVID-19 survivors in the evaluated clusters were significantly greater.
Additional research revealed that as people’s ages rose from 70 to 90, the percentage of responders (those with antibody titers exceeding 1000 U/mL) declined. The immune ageing of an ageing human body, according to the researchers, may be the cause of this tendency. It seems that as people get older, they lose their capacity to react to foreign substances and become delayed or non-responsive to vaccinations. This clarifies why older people are more prone to infectious infections.
Newer tactics are constantly being developed in an effort to protect the planet from COVID-19 as life tries to return to normal alongside the virus. In order to ensure the long-term safety of the elderly, our study suggests such a method. The LTCF’s elderly population responds less favourably to mRNA booster shots and may even appear to be non-responders. Therefore, developing elderly-focused serological testing techniques following vaccination is essential for better disease management.
When discussing the long-term effects of their research, Prof. Nakayama says, “Reducing the number of old individuals who die from Covid19 infection is vital for societal normalisation. Our research may be used to develop a vaccination triage system for senior long-term care institutions.
the Japanese university Okayama
Okayama University, one of the top universities in Japan, wants to construct and develop a new paradigm for global sustainability. A variety of academic disciplines are available at Okayama University, and these serve as the foundation for the integrated graduate schools. This not only enables us to carry out the most cutting-edge and modern research, but it also enhances the teaching process.
About Okayama University’s Professor Masanori Nakayama
At the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research Laboratory for Cell Polarity and Organogenesis, Professor Masanori Nakayama directs a group on his own. He is also connected to Okayama University in Japan’s Organization for Research Strategy and Development’s Office of Innovative Medicine. He has numerous research publications to his credit in well-known journals.