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The Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine triggers an immune response in adults

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In this September 9, 2020 image, a vaccine marked with a test tube can be seen in front of the AstraZeneca logo.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

LONDON – UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday its potential Covid-19 vaccine had triggered a similar immune response in both older and younger adults.

AstraZeneca said that older people's negative reactions to the vaccine – the age group at highest risk for the coronavirus – were also lower. The drugmaker's potential Covid-19 vaccine is being developed in partnership with Oxford University.

The announcement should raise hopes that a Covid vaccine will be developed before the end of the year.

"It is encouraging to see that immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults, and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults who have higher COVID-19 disease severity," an AstraZeneca spokesman told Monday Reuters.

"The results provide further evidence of the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222," said the spokesman, referring to the technical name of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

AstraZeneca wasn't immediately available for comment when CNBC contacted him on Monday. The company's shares rose nearly 1% on the news.

Drug makers and research centers are working hard to provide a safe and effective vaccine to end the coronavirus pandemic that killed more than 1.15 million people.

According to the World Health Organization, dozens of vaccine candidates are in clinical evaluation. Some are already doing late-stage testing before applying for formal approval.

The vaccine, which is being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, is considered to be a pioneer in gaining regulatory approval.

Pascal Soirot, CEO of AstraZeneca, previously said the drug manufacturer's vaccine would likely provide protection against infection with the coronavirus for about a year.

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Katherine Clark