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Oxford vaccine results spark hope

Tests: Vaccine provokes response PICTURE: PA

HOPES have been raised that the UK has produced a successful coronavirus vaccine after Oxford university revealed its jab triggers a robust immune response in older people.

Tests involving 560 healthy adults — including 240 over the age of 70 — produced ‘very good’ responses regardless of age.

It is a positive sign as older people are most at risk from the virus but, in general, tend to have poorer vaccine responses than younger patients.

‘The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself,’ said Dr Maheshi Ramasamy. The results published in The Lancet are from ‘phase two’ trials of the vaccine being developed in partnership with AstraZeneca.

Firms producing other jabs have published ‘phase three’ findings about the protection offered against Covid, with Pfizer saying on Wednesday that its product is 95 per cent effective.

The Oxford researchers have begun phase three trials and early results could be released in the next few weeks.

Health secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: ‘There is still much work to be done, but this is an encouraging set of findings.’