Syringe with hypodermic needle

British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine candidate provokes an immune response in adults aged 70 and older, the company said Thursday.

Phase 2 trial findings show that the vaccine was safe and well-tolerated among all 560 trial participants. Most adverse events were mild to moderate in severity, and more serious adverse events were determined not to be associated with the vaccine, the company reported.

Notably, people older than age 65 were not eligible to participate if they had severe or uncontrolled medical comorbidities or high frailty scores.

The trial did not assess the vaccine’s efficacy, which is being determined in ongoing phase 3 trials.

“These findings are encouraging because older individuals are at disproportionate risk of severe COVID-19 and so any vaccine adopted for use against SARS-CoV-2 must be effective in older adults,” the company stated.

In other coronavirus news

Immunity could be long-lasting after COVID illness New evidence suggests that certain immune cells may protect people from reacquiring the coronavirus for months or possibly years after they’ve recovered. At six months, helper T cells that mounted a defense against the virus remained in the blood of all study participants, no matter their age, symptom level, or illness severity, reported Medical News Today. This may be why it is so rare to find cases of a new infection in people who have already had a bout with the virus, investigators said. The new data have yet to be peer reviewed and are published on the preprint server BioRxiv.