AstraZeneca resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials

AstraZeneca resumed British clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, after getting the green light from safety watchdogs, the company said cited by Reuters. The late-stage trials, developed with researchers from the University of Oxford, were suspended this week after an illness in a study subject in Britain, casting doubts on an early rollout.

“On 6 September, the standard review process triggered a voluntary pause to vaccination across all global trials to allow review of safety data by independent committees, and international regulators,” AstraZeneca said. It added that safety reviewers had recommended to Britain’s Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that it was safe to resume the British trials.

The patient involved in the study had been reportedly suffering from neurological symptoms associated with a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis. AstraZeneca said it could not disclose further medical information. “The company will continue to work with health authorities across the world and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume to provide the vaccine broadly, equitably and at no profit during this pandemic,” AstraZeneca said.

Governments around the world are desperate for a vaccine to help end the pandemic. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had flagged AstraZeneca’s as the most promising. The vaccine is in late-stage clinical trials in the US, Britain, Brazil and South Africa and additional trials are planned in Japan and Russia.

The pause of the trials came after reports that the United States was aiming for fast-track authorisation or approval of a vaccine before November’s presidential election. Leading US and European vaccine developers have pledged to uphold scientific safety and efficacy standards for their experimental vaccines and not bow to political pressures to rush the process.

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