By Jenny Strasburg 
 

LONDON--A Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC showed a promising immune response and low levels of adverse reactions in the elderly and older adults, according to an interim analysis that the U.K. drug maker called "encouraging."

The vaccine, now in late-stage human trials aimed at showing its efficacy and safety, is a front-runner in the global sprint for a shot to protect lives and jump-start economies hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trials in the U.K. could produce results before year-end, fueling hopes among scientists and government leaders that a vaccine might be available for high-risk groups in the country by early 2021.

The results showed positive outcomes for those aged 56 and older, including over-70s, and were based on analysis of previously conducted interim safety and immune-response data, AstraZeneca and Oxford said Monday.

The elderly generally have been prone to more-severe Covid-19 symptoms compared to younger people. Thus, researchers have been looking for evidence that a vaccine will be able to specifically help protect this group.

"This marks a key milestone and reassures us that the vaccine is safe for use and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system in all adult groups," an Oxford spokesman said Monday in a statement.

 

Write to Jenny Strasburg at jenny.strasburg@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 26, 2020 07:47 ET (11:47 GMT)

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