Bad news about COVID is easy to find these days, whether in the US or overseas. But now comes a dose of good news from the makers of one of the leading vaccine candidates. AstraZeneca, which is teaming with Oxford University, said Monday that its vaccine produces an immune response in older recipients with few adverse reactions, reports Business Insider. The vaccine triggers a similar immune response in younger recipients, but the news on older participants is seen as especially promising given their vulnerability to the virus, per CNBC. The results were found in those 56 and older, and they held for those 70 and older.
"It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity [the level of side effects] was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher," says an AstraZeneca statement. "This marks a key milestone." So how does this translate to a usable vaccine? The Wall Street Journal reports that AstraZeneca's drug trials are expected to yield final results before year's end, which could lead to a workable vaccine for high-risk groups in early 2021. (The vaccine is one of several that could be out in the next weeks or months.)