(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- AstraZeneca, one of drug manufacturers that’s working on a coronavirus vaccine, has halted its experimental trials after one person who was participating in its studies came down sick.
The company will be taking a pause in order to conduct a standard review of the vaccine trials, the company said in a statement. The person in question came down with an unexplained illness.
This pause in the trials will allow researchers the time needed to examine all safety data, while still maintaining the integrity of the overall trials.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is under development in partnership with University of Oxford researchers. To this point, it was looked at as one of the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates.
This won’t necessarily derail the company’s progress, nor is it necessarily out of the ordinary for this to happen in vaccine development. As Michele Meixell, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca, said:
“This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”
Meixell said the company isn’t able to determine just yet the diagnosis of the participant.
In a private phone call, the CEO of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, told investors that the participant who came down ill is a woman from the U.K., STAT News reported. He apparently told the people on the call that the woman had symptoms that would be consistent with transverse myelitis, which is a rare but serious spinal inflammatory disorder.
Soriot did say that although the woman is in the hospital, her condition is improving, and she’s expected to be released as early as Wednesday.
This development could cause some worry that similar pauses will happen with other companies that are working on a COVID-19 vaccination. That’s because AstraZeneca’s trials are ahead of the other companies at this point.
While this normally wouldn’t be much of an issue in vaccine development, the world is hoping for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to be released as quickly as possible.
Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific advisor for the U.K. government, predicted other trials would eventually pause as well. At a press briefing Wednesday, he said:
“The Oxford vaccine in many ways is right at the front because it has been into more people than anyone else.” He added the situation “is precisely why Phase 3 clinical trials happen.”
Some side effects are inevitable with vaccines, and “it is sensible to look at that very seriously and understand what’s going on. So, I think you should expect in some of the other trials that you will see situations where things are paused and then re-started.”
At the same time, Dr. Francis Collins, with the National Institutes of Health, said health officials won’t skimp on their own safety assessments for vaccine potentials. He also called it a “top priority” of the NIH to find a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
“The critical final steps in clinical trials will be well-coordinated and done in parallel with manufacturing, but with NIH and industry providing the FDA with all of the critical safety and efficacy data necessary for sound scientific decision-making.”