AstraZeneca has resumed its COVID-19 vaccine trials in the U.K.
This comes after the AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the coronavirus vaccine the company is developing with the University of Oxford could still be ready before the end of the year, despite putting a trial on pause after one of the participants got sick.
Speaking at an online conference last week, Soriot said his company was still on track to resume the phase 3 trial and potentially develop a viable Covid-19 vaccine, even after pausing trials after a neurological problem was discovered in one patient.
“What we have here is a special set of circumstances where the whole world becomes involved in the conduct of a clinical trial,” Soriot said on Thursday, noting that independent experts are currently reviewing the patient’s illness to determine if it was linked to the trial vaccine. “The reality is we all have to be very patient and see how it unfolds.”
AstraZeneca last month kicked off Phase 3 testing of its Covid-19 trial vaccine, which involves some 30,000 participants in the U.S. as well as in the U.K., Brazil, and South Africa. However, the trial was halted on Monday after one of the trial patients became ill, triggering a wider review of the program.
U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told a Senate committee last week that the trial had been halted due to a “spinal cord problem.” Soriot provided a bit more clarity to that, noting on Thursday that investigators were still exploring whether the patient has an unrelated condition called transverse myelitis, which is inflammation of the spinal cord.
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