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AstraZeneca says COVID-19 vaccine candidate provokes similar immune response in older, younger adult

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AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) said the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed with Oxford University provokes a similar immune response in older and younger adults.

A spokesperson told Proactive the reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher.

READ: London hospitals told to be ready to receive AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

‘Reactogenicity’ indicates the common, expected adverse effects produced by a vaccine during clinical trials, such as fever and sore arm.

The FTSE 100 pharma giant noted that these results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of the candidate, named AZD1222.

“We anticipate efficacy read-outs from Phase II/III trials between now and the end of the year, and if approved within countries, doses of the potential vaccine could be available for use before the end of the year,” the spokesman told Proactive.

The candidate is now at the final stage of trials on 30,000 people across the UK, US, South Africa, England, Russia and Brazil.

The trial, started in July, is expected to end in December with availability likely at year-end, according to Deutsche Bank. It is under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency.

Trials were halted in early September after a UK volunteer reported serious side effects; they quickly resumed in the UK and Brazil but were on hold for longer in the US.

The Sun revealed on Monday, London hospitals were told to be ready to receive the first batches as well as to put other clinical trials on hold so it could get ready to vaccinate health workers.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said vaccinating health workers was not his “central expectation” though he did not rule it out.

“We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it’s not my central expectation that we will be doing that this year, but the programme is progressing well,” he told the BBC in relation to the reports of deliveries to London hospitals.

Last week, a study by Bristol University confirmed the candidate, which is currently in the final stage of clinical trials, builds strong immunity to the virus as hoped.

Shares advanced 1% to 8,167p on Tuesday afternoon.

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