The Oxford trials featuring the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate are set to resume after a short halt following a patient falling ill.
So far, we don’t know much about the specifics about the illness, but it is said that these halts are common in vaccine trials. A representative of the United States National Institute of Health could not be reached for comment on the resumption, and an AstraZeneca spokesman declined to comment. AstraZeneca still believes that the vaccine will be available by the end of the year.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said they were not sure if the participant had a suspected diagnosis of transverse myelitis. The NIH Director Francis Collins said that the trial had been halted due to a “spinal cord problem. Oxford was not able to disclose any information about the illness of the patient for confidentiality reasons.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care of the UK said, “This pause shows we will always put safety first. We will back our scientists to deliver an effective vaccine as soon as safely possible,” as he welcomed testing to resume.
Many health officials are continuing to sound off that these stoppages are normal, and Oxford University said they even expected some participants would become ill during the trial as it is common in large trials like this. Phase 3 testing has involved around 30,000 participants in the US, the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials in vaccines usually have thousands of participants and can last many years, however we know the political pressure that is put on this specific vaccine race, Oxford and AstraZeneca do not have years to get these trials done.
Both the UK and the US have seen their confirmed case totals rising recently, however while the UK death tolls remain relatively low, the US still sees hundreds to thousands of deaths per day caused by the virus.
This is a developing story so be sure to check back with the ABN Blog often for updates.