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AstraZeneca says its coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response among adults

A test tube labelled vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

LONDON — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Monday said its potential Covid-19 vaccine had produced a similar immune response in both older and younger adults.

AstraZeneca, which is developing its potential Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford, said adverse responses to the vaccine among the elderly were also found to be lower.

The WHO has said that older people, in addition to people of all ages with pre-existing medical conditions, appear to develop serious illness on contracting the coronavirus more often than others.

The announcement is likely to boost hopes of a Covid vaccine being developed before the end of the year.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told CNBC via email.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Shares of the company rose around 0.8% on the news.

Drugmakers and research centers are scrambling to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in an attempt to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.15 million lives.

Dozens of candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organization, with some already conducting late-stage tests before seeking formal approval.

The vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is thought to be one of the frontrunners to secure regulatory approval.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soirot has previously said the drugmaker’s vaccine would likely provide protection against contracting the coronavirus for about a year.

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