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CSL chief scientific officer Andrew Nash with a small vial to go into the bioreactor to create 30 ml doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Nov. 8 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

A COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is safe and produces strong immune responses in older people, per preliminary findings of a phase two trial published Thursday in The Lancet.

Why it matters: Coronavirus cases are soaring in the U.S. and across the world. The findings from the study of 560 healthy adults, including 240 people aged over 70, follow Pfizer's announcement Wednesday that its vaccine is 95% effective and Moderna's data released Monday showing its version has a 94.5% vaccination success rate.

Of note: The study authors found the vaccine had few side effects and that "volunteers in the trial demonstrate similar neutralising antibody titres, and T cell responses across all three age groups (18–55, 56–79, and 70+)."

What they're saying: Angela Minassian, an investigator at the University of Oxford, said in a statement, "Inducing robust immune responses in older adults has been a long-standing challenge.

  • "To show this vaccine technology is able to induce these responses, in the age group most at risk from severe COVID-19 disease, offers hope that vaccine efficacy will be similar in younger and older adult."

What's next: The results of phase three trials of the vaccine to determine its efficacy, which are ongoing, are expected in the coming weeks.

Read the findings, via DocumentCloud:

Flashback: World-leading Oxford coronavirus vaccine produces immune response

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker