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Report: The ageing immune system and COVID-19

Ageing Immune System Briefing Front cover

Published 10 November 2020

Our taskforce have published a new expert report which rapidly reviews current research on the ageing immune system and COVID-19 and sets out the key recommendations for future research. For those without a research background, we have also summarised the review findings in an accessible question and answer blog.

The report outlines five research recommendations to help increase our knowledge of the role played by the ageing immune system in the body’s response to COVID-19. A better understanding of the immunological response in older people to COVID-19 infection will help us improve patient care and have implications for treatment and vaccine approaches.


  1. To establish detailed studies of the symptoms and clinical progression of COVID-19 infection in non-hospitalised individuals which are large enough to determine ages at which critical changes occur. 

  1. To identify how much the reaction of the immune system itself contributes to the symptoms and disease course of COVID-19 in older people.
  1. To establish reliable methods to measure immune responses in patients following COVID-19 infection or vaccination with a specific focus on different age groups.  
  1. To determine the effect of other challenges to the immune system during COVID-19 infection. 
  1. To prioritise research into optimising protocols for any future COVID-19 vaccine that may be given to older adults. 

Read the press release

The ageing immune system and COVID-19.pdf (408 KB)
The ageing immune system and COVID-19.pdf (408 KB)