AstraZeneca’s decision to put the Phase III trial of its Covid-19 vaccine on hold is unfortunate but part of how a trial is supposed to work, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said. The pause comes after a subject developed complications.
“It’s really one of the safety valves that you have on clinical trials such as this, so it’s unfortunate that it happened,” the leading US expert on infections told CBS’ ‘This Morning’ program. “Hopefully, they’ll work it out and be able to proceed along with the remainder of the trial, but you don’t know. They need to investigate it further.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which said pauses in clinical trials were nothing unusual. “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 US body told Reuters.
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AstraZeneca, which is co-developing the vaccine with the University of Oxford, reported earlier that it had suspended the clinical trial after one of the participants in the UK developed a possible adverse reaction. The decision, described as a routine action, was taken voluntarily to allow for the “review of safety data by an independent committee,” the company said.
The vaccine, designated AZD1222, is considered to be among the frontrunners in the race for an effective counter to the Covid-19 pandemic. The informal competition has drawn much public attention, pitting leading nations like the US, China and Russia against one another for the symbolic honor of beating the coronavirus on behalf of humanity.
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