This evidence synthesis has been compiled by members of the CITF Secretariat and does not necessarily represent the views of all CITF members.

By Mariana Bego

Immune responses to infections and vaccines may be different in children, compared to adults. A careful evaluation of novel vaccines in the pediatric population is therefore warranted. Recent research from a pre-clinical study published in Science Immunology suggests that two COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective in young macaques. Strong and long-lasting immune responses were observed in the 16 baby macaques studied; these responses were comparable to the ones observed in adult macaques and humans.

Key points:

  • Two groups of eight baby macaques with a median age of 2 months – roughly equivalent to a 9-month old human – were vaccinated with either a preclinical version of the Moderna mRNA 1273 vaccine or a protein-based vaccine candidate.
  • Both vaccines elicited high levels of SARS-CoV-2-specififc neutralizing antibodies.
  • Both vaccines resulted in specific and strong cellular responses (B and T cells), which had previously been linked to diminished disease severity.
  • The recorded immune response persisted for at least 22 weeks (when the study ended).
  • Active challenge studies Active challenge studies involve exposing healthy vaccinated animals to the virus (in this case, SARS-CoV-2) to learn if the vaccine conferred protection. in animals are underway to better understand any potential long-lasting protection provided by the vaccines.


Garrido C, Curtis AD, Denis M, Pathak SH, Gao H, Montefiori D, Tomai M, Fox CB, Kozlowski PA, Scobey T, Munt JE, Mallory ML, Saha PT, Hudgens MG, Lindesmith LC, Baric RS, Abiona OM, Graham B, Corbett KS, Edwards D, Carfi A, Fouda G, Van Rompay KKA, De Paris K, Permar SR. SARS-CoV-2 vaccines elicit durable immune responses in infant rhesus macaques. Sci Immunol. 2021 Jun 15;6(60). doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abj3684.