Cadila Healthcare Ltd., one of two Indian drugmakers racing to develop an indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, is in talks with potential partners to ramp up production capacity if its candidate passes human clinical trials.
"Immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults", an AstraZeneca spokesperson said.
Pharmaceutical companies from both home and overseas have joined the global race to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 virus, with 27 of them having approval for clinical trials.
The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is one of the most promising and advanced in the world to combat the global pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of 1.1 million people.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock further fuelled optimism Monday, noting in an interview that once approved the "bulk" of the vaccine's rollout could occur in Britain before next summer.
"It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher", an AstraZeneca spokesman said.
Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year, he told the BBC: "I don't rule that out but that is not my central expectation".
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Patel declined to comment on whether he thought 500 billion rupees would suffice, but said he wasn't anxious about potential delivery and cold-chain storage bottlenecks given that vaccine supply will initially be restricted to priority areas and those at high risk.
The statement is significant as age is considered a principal factor when developing a Covid-19 vaccine, according to The Financial Times. Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the viral vector vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.
It resumed the U.S. trial of the experimental vaccine after approval by United States regulators, the company said on Friday.
"We have a lot of interest from people who want to use it for other countries and we will license it out for other markets and countries so we can have more manufacturing beyond India", he added.
Several dozen vaccine candidates are now being tested in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced Phase 3 stage involving tens of thousands of volunteers.