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AstraZeneca pauses its COVID-19 vaccine trial after one participant got sick.

Image Credit: Reuters

The company AstraZeneca, which is working on a COVID-19 vaccine with University of Oxford, has temporarily paused its vaccination trials according to STAT, after one participant fell ill probably due to possible serious adverse reaction. The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is in late phase 3 stage and AstraZeneca was considered to be on track to be the first to produce results from its large scale trial of its COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a person with knowledge about the matter, and would like to remain anonymous, the participant affected was diagnosed with transverse myelitis. It is an inflammatory syndrome of the spinal cord and is usually triggered by a viral infection. The timing of the identification of diagnosis, and whether AstraZeneca’s vaccine is to blame for the participant’s condition is yet to be known. Regardless, vaccination trials were briefly stopped, and an independent committee will review the safety data.

A spokesman of the company said, ‘As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee.’

The spokesman continued ‘This is a routine action which has to happen whenever thete is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.’ He continued ‘In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully.’

AstraZeneca is one of 9 companies that are close to issuing the vaccine. AstraZeneca’s vaccine AZD1222 is expected to be released to some countries later this year, if everything remains on track.

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