Oxford vaccine breakthrough

Top News | REUTERS 27 Oct 2020

A Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in both older and younger adults and adverse responses were lower among the elderly, British drugmaker AstraZeneca revealed yesterday.

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, hammered the global economy and ruined life across the world.

"The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222," an AstraZeneca spokesman said, referring to the vaccine's technical name.

Word that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive as the immune system weakens with age and older people are most at risk of dying from the virus.

The vaccine was developed by Oxford University scientists and licensed to AstraZeneca in April. It is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to be able to secure regulatory approval.

If it works a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality from the pandemic.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated "robust immune responses" in a group of healthy adults aged from 18 to 55, it was reported.

British Secretary of Health Matt Hancock said he is preparing logistics for a possible roll-out in the first half of 2021.

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year, he said: "I don't rule that out."

Staff at a London hospital trust were also reportedly told to be ready to receive batches of the Oxford vaccine in the week starting November 1.

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