AstraZeneca Resumes Trials Of Coronavirus Vaccine Paused When Test Subject Got Sick

A clinical staff member holds a BCG vial and syringe
Paul Kane / Getty Images

Drug manufacturer AstraZeneca announced on Saturday that it is resuming clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine that had to be paused when a patient got sick, Reuters reported.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Cambridge, England-based pharmaceutical company had been conducting large-scale clinical trials, involving thousands of volunteers, on the serum it had developed in conjunction with a British university.

The so-called “Oxford vaccine” — AZD1222 — is produced in conjunction with a team of researchers at the university and had shown great promise in immunizing animals against SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, one of the human test subjects had an adverse reaction to whatever was injected into them — the drug or a placebo — and the trials had to be paused so that an independent, third-party review board could look at the data and get to the bottom of what happened.

Such pauses are common in the drug-development process, and are intended to protect the well-being of the test subjects, among other things. Unfortunately, the pause also appeared, at first, to thwart the timetable of getting a coronavirus vaccine deployed sooner rather than later.

“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,” the company said at the time.

a patient is given an injection
  Paul Kane / Getty Images

Similarly, a statement from Oxford confirmed that test subjects getting sick is expected when it comes to researching medicines, via CNBC.

“In large trials such as this, it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety,” the university said.

The trials are resuming, AstraZeneca said in a statement on its website.

“Clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, have resumed in the UK following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that it was safe to do so.”

The statement went on to note that the company is committed to the safety of its test subjects, as well as to the highest scientific standards, when it comes to producing any new medicine.

The manufacturer did not disclose any further information about the test subject. Reuters reported that the subject experienced neurological symptoms associated with transverse myelitis, a rare spinal inflammatory disorder.

With clinical trials back on, the timeline for when or even if the vaccine will be ready remains unclear. President Donald Trump has been bullish on the belief that it or some other vaccine will be ready by October, a timetable that other health experts say is unlikely.