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AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine On Track for Possible Year-End Rollout

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed with the University of Oxford shows positive immune responses, raising hopes of a vaccine before year-end.

AstraZeneca’s  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed with the University of Oxford has shown a positive immune response in both older and younger adults, raising hopes the vaccine could be approved for widespread use as soon as the end of the year.

Citing unnamed sources, both the Financial Times and Reuters reported the British pharmaceutical giant’s most recent findings related to its phase 3 trial show that the vaccine candidate triggers protective antibodies and T-cells, helping the body fight off the virus.

Adverse responses to the vaccine among the elderly - the age group at highest risk from the coronavirus - also were found to be lower, according to both news organizations. Details of the findings are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, according to the Financial Times.

The reports come as countries in the northern hemisphere face a “dangerous moment,” as U.S. coronavirus infections hit a record for the second day and France’s cases rose by more than 50,000.

Drugmakers and research centers are scrambling to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in an attempt to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.15 million lives. Dozens of candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organization, with many already in late-stage phase 3 testing. 

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AstraZeneca in August kicked off Phase 3 testing of its Covid-19 trial vaccine, which involves some 30,000 participants in the U.S. as well as in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa. However, the trial was halted earlier this month after one of the trial patients became ill, triggering a wider review of the program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that AstraZeneca can resume the study in the U.S. The U.K trial has already been resumed.

AstraZeneca is one of more than 30 drug companies racing to develop a viable Covid-19 vaccine. The British drugmaker in earlier this year announced the launch of a separate study to evaluate the effectiveness of AZD7442, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that it hopes could lead to both a preventative treatment for Covid-19 and a medicinal treatment for those who already have it.

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. hit a single-day record of 85,000 on Saturday. Deaths in the U.S. have passed 225,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Shares of AstraZeneca were up 2.3% at $53.19 in New York trading on Monday.