Europe

AstraZeneca says trials of Covid-19 vaccine resuming

LONDON (REUTERS) – British clinical trials for the AstraZeneca and Oxford University coronavirus vaccine have resumed following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that it was safe to do so, the company said on Saturday (Sept 12).

The late-stage trials of the experimental vaccine, one of the most advanced in development, were suspended this week after an illness in a study subject in Britain. The participant was reportedly suffering from symptoms associated with a rare spinal inflammatory disorder.

“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 UK 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, based in Cambridge, said it could not disclose further medical information. 

Governments around the world are desperate for a vaccine to help end the pandemic, which has caused more than 900,000 deaths and global economic turmoil.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had flagged AstraZeneca’s as the most promising. 

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. 

AstraZeneca has already agreed to supply close to three billion doses to governments across the globe – more than any other vaccine project. 

The WHO’s chief scientist said the pause in the trial should serve as a “wake-up” call that there would be ups and downs in the development of a vaccine. 

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