Oxford University’s promising COVID-19 vaccine trial has been halted after reports of a serious adverse reaction in a trial participant.
The trial, being run by AstraZeneca, has been put on hold in phase 3 testing – the trial had been widely touted as the world’s most promising until news of the adverse reaction today.
Stat News quoted an AstraZeneca spokesperson as saying in a statement that the “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data”.
The vaccine candidate was being tested at sites including the USA and the UK, where the adverse event was reported.
The nature of the safety issue and when it happened were not immediately known, although the participant is expected to recover, according to Stat News.
The report said suspension of the trial was having an impact on other AstraZeneca vaccine trials – as well as on clinical trials being conducted by other vaccine makers.
Australia has signed a deal to access millions of doses of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine once it is ready.
AstraZeneca said the halt was “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.”
“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 minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline.”
AstraZeneca started its Phase 3 trial in late August. The process is taking place across 62 sites throughout the country. Phase 2 and 3 trials previously began in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.
Worldwide, there are currently nine vaccine candidates still in Phase 3 trials.