A major new trial on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has found it was 100% effective at preventing serious disease.
US researchers gave 32,000 volunteers – a fifth aged over 65 – two doses of the jab, four weeks apart.
They found none had to go hospital and only 141 developed symptoms afterwards – suggesting the vaccine was 79% effective at stopping illness in those vulnerable to the virus.
Andrew Pollard, the lead investigator of the Oxford University trial of the vaccine, said: "These results are great news as they show the remarkable efficacy of the vaccine in a new population and are consistent with the results from Oxford-led trials.
"We can expect strong impact against Covid-19 across all ages and for people of all different backgrounds from widespread us of the vaccine."
The results have paved the way for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been approved for use in 50 countries, to be rolled-out in the US.
The new trial also comes amid bungled vaccine roll-outs and surging rates of Covid in Europe.
There have been renewed lockdowns following widespread fears the jab causes rare blood clots in the brain which have been dismissed by experts.
Last week 13 countries in Europe suspended its use when a "very small" number of people developed cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) after receiving the jab, the Metro reports.
Most of the suspensions were lifted after a European Medicines Agency review said it did not raise the overall risk of blood clots.
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The US trial, which involved volunteers in the US, Chile and Peru, also found no increased risk of thrombosis with no cases of CVST identified following inoculation.
Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said it also disproved claims the jab was less effective among over-65s.
She told the BBC: "20% of people in this trial were over the age of 65 and there was no drop in protection for those people.
"It was just as good in the over-65s as it was in the younger people and that’s very clear from this trial."
AstraZeneca is now expected to submit data to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and seek emergency approval for use.
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