Oxford COVID-19 vaccine shows promising immune response among elderly people

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford for AstraZeneca shows promising signs it could be effective among higher risk groups

Trials of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University have shown a strong immune response among older adults
Trials of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University have shown a strong immune response among older adults

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford scientists has shown a strong immune response in elderly people, raising hopes it can protect higher risk groups.

Researchers at the University of Oxford said phase two findings based on 560 healthy adult volunteers were “encouraging”.

A third phase of testing among a larger group of people is underway and early results are expected in the coming weeks. The Oxford vaccine is being developed for AstraZeneca.

Three other vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna - have already reported good preliminary data from phase three trials, with one suggesting 94% of over-65s could be protected from Covid-19.

The Oxford data is from an earlier stage, which tests the safety of the vaccine and the body's response to it, but in the long run it's likely this vaccine could be easier to roll out because it doesn't need to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Prof. Andrew Pollard, study lead from the University of Oxford, told the BBC on Thursday that he was “absolutely delighted with the results” showing a strong immune response “even in those over 70 years of age”.

On whether the vaccine protects people against COVID-19, he said they were “not there yet” but the data would probably be released “before Christmas”.

Prof. Pollard said there was "no competition" with other vaccines, adding that multiple vaccines needed to be successful. “We will need all of them to protect people around the globe,” he said.

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