Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca on Tuesday said that it had to “voluntarily paused” a randomized clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine. The company called it a routine action after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.
AstraZeneca is developing the drug alongside the University of Oxford and is considered the frontrunner in the global race for a vaccine against coronavirus.
“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,” a spokesperson 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.”
The company spokesperson also added that in large trials, illnesses will sometimes happen by chance but must be reviewed independently.
“We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline,” the spokesperson said.
The nature and severity of illness or where the patient was not clear immediately.
Pauses during clinical trials are common. But, this is thought to be the first time it has happened for a Covid-19 vaccine trial.
AstraZeneca is one of nine companies currently in late-stage Phase 3 trials for their vaccine candidates.