Oxford scientists expect COVID-19 vaccine data by Christmas

One million people receive experimental Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

The results came from a Phase 2 study of 560 volunteers, including 240 people aged 70 or older.

The early trials tested whether the vaccine produced an immune response, and also monitored side effects, using two different dosages and vaccine schedules.

The action comes days after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced that its vaccine appears 95 per cent effective at preventing mild to severe Covid-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.

The study's findings, which looked only at data from the phase 2 trial, are important because older adults often have a lessened immune response and are more susceptible to infections, explained the study's lead author, Andrew Pollard. "The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself", he added.

Ramasamy told The Guardian that the "robust antibody and T-cell responses" they saw in the group of older people were encouraging.

A health worker injects a person during Pfizer clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in Hollywood, Florida, on September 9. "We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but further research will be needed before we can be sure", she said in the release.

The study also found that the vaccine was less likely to cause local reactions at the site where the injection was administered and symptoms on the day of vaccination in older adults than in the younger group.

Thirteen serious adverse events occurred in the six months since the first dose was given, none of which were related to either study vaccine. Oxford and AstraZeneca are waiting for the results of phase III trials on thousands of people around the world to show whether their vaccine is safe and effective.

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.

However, experts have warned against the vaccine due to a lack of standard control from any clinical trial group. While meeting Pfizer's minus 70 degrees Celsius requirement for its vaccines will be "difficult", they are gearing up to set up cold chain storage for the jab job that needs to be done on an unprecedented scale of several crore shots to even begin with.

Separately, Pfizer's chief executive Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that the firm plans to submit its vaccine data to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency-use authorisation.

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