Fauci says Astrazeneca vaccine pause unfortunate, not uncommon

Thursday, 10 Sep, 2020

Scientists around the world have been scrambling to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus since the outbreak began.

© Unsplash AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, which was first developed by researchers at the University of Oxford before partnering with the pharmaceutical giant, is now among the world's most promising candidates. "We are pleased to see vaccine developers assuring the scientific integrity of the trials and abiding by the standard guidelines and rules for the development of vaccines", the U.S. body told Reuters.

This has now been confirmed by AstraZeneca.

The nature of the illness was not disclosed, although the participant is expected to recover, according to Stat News, which first reported the suspension due to a "suspected serious adverse reaction".

British drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University voluntarily suspended the late-stage tests after a participant experienced an "adverse reaction". But it's important to remember pausing vaccine trials is common.

As vaccines are created to be taken up by vast numbers of people, trials typically involve many thousands of volunteers in an attempt to detect relatively rare side effects. Most health authorities are skeptical about a claim of vaccine success by Russian Federation, which has test results from just a few dozen people.

As such, it's not uncommon for such trials to be put on pause.

1077 human trials were conducted and it showed potential to trigger the immune response against COVID-19.

About 150 COVID-19 infections in a study of 30,000 people should be enough to tell if that candidate really is working - and an independent group of experts, not the FDA, gets to do the counting.

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Zhou Song from China National Biotec Group (CNBG) told China National Radio hundreds of thousands of people had been given one of the firm's two vaccine candidates, now in phase three clinical trials, "and no one has shown any obvious adverse effects or got infected". "They need to investigate it further". Similar moves on unproven Covid-19 treatments have previously led the FDA having to make embarrassing U-turns.

Russian Federation has already approved a vaccine - albeit with some question marks from worldwide observers - and the European Union on Wednesday reserved another 200 million doses of a potential vaccine from AstraZeneca rivals, BioNTech-Pfizer.

David Lo, a professor of biomedical sciences at University of California, Riverside, told AFP that there had been reports of mild side effects among volunteers during previous trial phases.

The global body also stressed the importance of prioritising vaccine safety in light of the development.