AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be safe and well tolerated in older adults, findings published in The Lancet confirm.

The results, from the phase II study of the vaccine candidate, show that the shot produces a similar immune response in both old and young adults. The study enrolled 560 participants – 160 aged 18-55 years and 240 aged 70 years and older.

Researchers found that the vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, appears to be better tolerated in older adults than in younger adults, a result they dubbed ‘encouraging’ as ‘older individuals are at disproportionate risk of severe COVID-19’.

Earlier this month, The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) started a rolling review of AZ’s shot.

Regulators will be able to review data in real time under a rolling review process, which is designed to help speed up the approval timeline of potential vaccines for the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

AZ is currently studying the vaccine in a large-scale phase III clinical trial programme in the UK, Brazil and the US.

The candidate uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of an adenovirus (the common cold virus) that contains the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein, which causes COVID-19.

AZ said in a statement earlier this month that results from the phase III trials are expected later this year, depending on the COVID-19 infection rate in the communities where the studies are being conducted.