The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University produces a strong immune response in older adults, data from early trials has shown.
The phase one and phase two results suggest that one of the groups most at risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19 may be able to build immunity, according to data published in The Lancet medical journal.
It comes a day after Pfizer announced its coronavirus vaccine was 94% effective among adults over 65 in its final efficacy results, and that it would be seeking authorisation over the next few days.
According to the authors of the Oxford vaccine findings, “volunteers in the trial demonstrate similar neutralising antibody titres, and T cell responses across all three age groups (18-55, 56-79, and 70+)”.
Around 560 healthy adult volunteers took part in the phase two trials, where they were given two doses of the vaccine candidate, or a placebo.
No adverse health problems were reported during the trials, the report adds.
Japan is on “maximum alert” after confirming a record number of daily coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday, but said the government was not yet planning to impose more restrictions to curb the outbreak.
Some 2,201 new cases were recorded across the country on Wednesday, with nearly 500 in the capital, Tokyo, a sprawling metropolis of nearly 14 million people.
City authorities later raised the city to the highest of a four-tier scale, but the move does not come with any additional restrictions on activity and Japanese media said early business closures were unlikely for now.
While small compared with figures seen in some other countries, the numbers represent a sharp rise for Japan, where testing is often less wide-scale than in other parts of the world.
“We are now in a situation of maximum alert,” Suga told reporters.
“I ask you, the Japanese people, to fully implement principles such as wearing masks,” he added, urging people to wear them even while talking during meals in restaurants.