AstraZeneca, Oxford University resume clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine

Henrietta Brewer
September 15, 2020

AstraZeneca was, and still is, keeping mum on the exact nature of what happened, but according to a New York Times report which cited a person familiar with the situation, a participant based in the United Kingdom was found to have transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and is often sparked by viral infections.

The trial in the USA remains on hold as United States regulators probe serious UK side effect.

Britain has struck agreements with a number of pharmaceutical firms developing vaccines against the novel coronavirus in order to ensure it has access to an effective innoculation, including BioNTech, Pfizer, Janssen pharmaceuticals and Novavax.

The university said in large trials such as this "it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety".

If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccine, Bourla said the company is prepared to distribute "hundreds of thousands of doses". Being alert to potential adverse reactions with any new vaccine is part of the process, he explained.


"Let me tell you something". "So it's unfortunate that it happened".

The episode shows that care is being taken with the trial, they say.

Valneva said the British government has also committed to invest into expanding the company's manufacturing site in Scotland which would allow it to become a major vaccine facility.

A viable vaccine to the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 illness won't be available to immunize the general public until the end of 2024, said the chief executive of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times.

Trials of the Oxford vaccine, which has been licensed to AstraZeneca, resumed at the weekend after safety watchdogs gave it the go-ahead. Specifically, the woman is said to have developed symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord.


Pauses in drug trials are commonplace but the temporary hold led to a sharp fall in AstraZeneca's share price following the announcement Tuesday.

During the third and final stage of testing, researchers look for any signs of possible side effects that may have gone undetected in earlier patient research.

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel said Monday that the common flu, unlike coronavirus, is a "moving target" that often changes form from year to year, while COVID-19 is more static.

"What we're going to be doing is targeting the vaccine to select groups of people who are at very high risk of a bad outcome from COVID to try to reduce their risk", he said.

Italy's health minister, Roberto Speranza, welcomed the resumption of the vaccine trial, but warned that prudence was still necessary. "In the meantime, the key continues to be our behavior".


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