Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Trial on Hold After Volunteer Falls Ill

The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine trials paused following the report of one illness. The trial halt is to investigate if the participant’s potential condition is a side effect of the vaccine.

AstraZeneca Confirms Pause in Trials

AstraZeneca started testing the vaccine created by Oxford University through trials in Britain and the US. It also conducted smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa. Until recently, the COVID vaccine trials seemed successful. However, the emergence of the illness in one of the recipients led to halting the trials.

Under the circumstances, the company defends that it isn’t uncommon to have a temporary hold of extensive medical procedures due to specific adverse reactions. Further, they speculate that the illness might be coincidental. Conditions of all sorts might arise in studies with thousands of people, they said. That being said, the company also reassured that they were working to “accelerate the review of the event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline”.

Pressure from Politicians

Even though the company is accepting the issue, many fear that a vaccine might receive approval due to political pressure without fair trials. Significantly, the worries began after President Trump told reporters that a vaccine would be available by November 1st. Many experts suspect that the statement was to strengthen his reelection bid.

Soon after this statement, many companies, including AstraZeneca, undertook an unusual pledge. In brief, they pledged to uphold the scientific safety and efficacy standards for the trial. Some signatories included Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, Moderna Inc and BioNTech.

Three Phases of the Trial

Usually, clinical trials happen in three phases. In phase one, healthy individuals get the vaccine to check its toxicity. Following that, step two tests study the vaccine’s ability to evoke an immune response in a handpicked group of people. After successful completion of these two phases, the manufacturer can apply for authorisation from the FDA and other similar bodies. The said authorisation will be available only after phase 3 trials on a large number of participants is successful.

In all, the halt in vaccine trials is confirmed until the issue is clarified. Further, the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine will depend on whether the researchers can identify and rectify the problem while prioritizing the safety of the vaccine.


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