COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Paused due to Illness in One Volunteer

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COVID-19 Vaccine
FILE - This July 18, 2020, file photo, shows the AstraZeneca offices in Cambridge, England. AstraZeneca announced Monday, Aug. 31, its vaccine candidate has entered the final testing stage in the U.S. The company said the study will involve up to 30,000 adults from various racial, ethnic and geographic groups. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

COVID-19 Vaccine: Last month during the latter half, AstraZeneca had started recruiting 30,000 people in the United States for the largest study in the vaccine for COVID-19. It is also testing this vaccine in thousands of people in Britain and in small studies in South Africa and Brazil. This vaccine is being developed by Oxford.

Late-stage studies of COVID-19 vaccine candidates by AstraZeneca have been paused on a temporary basis while the company carries out an investigation if ‘unexplained illness’ of a recipient is the side effect of the vaccine. This statement was issued on Tuesday evening by the company. According to the statement issued, the company said the standard process of review had triggered a pause to the vaccination to review the safety data.

This company, AstraZeneca did not reveal any information about the possible effects except call this, ‘potentially unexplained illness’.

STAT, a site for health news, reported this pause in testing first, saying that this side-effect could have occurred in the UK. A spokesperson of AstraZeneca has confirmed the pause in vaccinations not only in US but also in other countries.

There are two other vaccines besides the AstraZeneca vaccine that is in the final stages in the United States. One of which is made by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech and the other made by Moderna Inc. As compared to the vaccine by AstraZeneca, these two work in a different manner. The studies of these vaccines have recruited almost two-thirds of the required volunteers.

Temporary pause on large medical studies is quite common. It is mandatory to investigate any unexpected or serious reaction for safety measures. AstraZeneca also stated that this problem can be a coincidence as there is a possibility of different illnesses arising in studies involving thousands of people.

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The company stated that they were working to expedite the said review of this single event to minimize the impact on the timeline of the trial.

A researcher working at the University of Washington, Deborah Fuller, says that the unexplained illness might be serious enough to require hospitalization and not mild like a simple fever of a muscle ache. Deborah Fuller is, at present, working on a COVID-19 vaccine that has not started any human testing until now.

She further added that this is nothing to get alarmed about and instead you should feel reassured that the company is being careful and monitoring the health of the vaccine participants.

Another doctor of Brown University says that though the importance of the interruption is unclear, he is optimistic about an effective vaccine is available in the coming months.

During the final stage of testing, that is the third stage, the researchers look for any side effects that might have gone undetected during the other phases. This third phase is considered to be the most important phase due to the large size. This phase calls for picking up the not so common side effects and ensuring safety.

Eight drug makers along with AstraZeneca had issued an unusual pledge for upholding the highest and ethical standards for the development of the vaccine.