Clinical trials for one of the leading coronavirus vaccination candidates have been put on hold after one of the participants developed an "unexplained illness." AstraZeneca, which has been working with Oxford University on the vaccine, said the pause is "a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials."
"In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials," the pharmaceutical company said.
According to the New York Times, the participant was from the United Kingdom and was enrolled in both the second and third trials. They were reportedly diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which causes inflammation around the spinal cord. The condition can be caused by viral infections, and the researchers are working to determine whether it was an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Two other vaccines are in the final stage of clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna started phase 3 trials in late July and have enrolled about 30,000 volunteers in the United States.
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