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Oxford researcher expects coronavirus vaccine results by Christmas

An undated image provided by BioNTech shows a vaccine trial participant being injected with a vaccine against the coronavirus. Pfizer and BioNTech’s trial has shattered all speed records for vaccine development Early results indicate AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is promising
Gustavo Carr | 22 November, 2020, 04:24

New findings published in The Lancet today demonstrated that the AZ/Oxford vaccine induced a similar immune response in older and younger adults in a phase 2 study.

Pollard discussed progress in the late-stage trials as Oxford released a study based on earlier research that found the vaccine was well tolerated and produced a strong immune response in people over 70.

Moderna said Monday its vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing the disease, and Pfizer announced Wednesday that its efficacy rate is 95%.Pfizer is ready to seek authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the emergency use of its vaccine. "The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself", he added.

"The reason that we're so delighted is the we're seeing the immune responses look exactly the same, even in those who are over 70 years of age", Pollard said.

As per a press release on the early results, the vaccine was tested in 560 adults who received two doses of the vaccine or a placebo vaccine.

"Older adults are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination, because they are at increased risk of severe disease, but we know that they tend to have poorer vaccine responses", Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, Investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group and Consultant Physician, explained.

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"We will need all of them to protect people around the globe", he said, per the BBC. And it turns out that older adults are less likely to have local reactions where they got the injection and symptoms on the day of vaccination compared to younger people.

Thirteen serious adverse events occurred in the six months since the first dose was given, none of which were related to either study vaccine.

The AstraZeneca/ Oxford vaccine is now in phase 3 trials, which are set to determine its efficacy.

United Kingdom authorities have placed orders for 100 million doses of the vaccine - enough to vaccinate most of the population - should it receive regulatory approval.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have arranged deals with the government so that the vaccines will be free to Americans and distributed according to plans worked out between the federal government and the states.

"We're making this ahead of time so should the clinical trial be positive with the outcome that we're looking for ... the vaccine will be available in the short term to distribute to the population", said CSL's chief scientific officer Andrew Nash.