AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Resume In the UK After Data Review Board Investigates Safety Signal
SARS-CoV-2 (yellow) attacks a dying human cell (red)

AstraZeneca resumed clinical trials for its investigational COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, after briefly pausing the trial globally to investigate reports of a potential severe adverse in a patient in the United Kingdom.

In a brief press release, AstraZeneca announced that Phase 3 trials for the vaccine, AZD1222, have resumed in the UK on 12 September following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that it was safe to do so. The trial was paused on 6 September.

No further medical information can be disclosed at this time, according to the press release. However, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot had last week told investors that pausing the trial to investigate the potential safety signal was a routine move, and the patient in question was doing well.

The pause on the trial came just a day after the CEOs of nine major biopharma companies currently involved in COVID-19 vaccine trials pledged to follow standard safety protocol and delay seeking regulatory approval until final phase clinical trials showed their vaccines were safe and effective, amidst political pressure to speed up development.

AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine, co-developed with Oxford University, is one of the frontrunners in the COVID-19 vaccine race. The company has already committed at least 300 million doses to the COVAX Facility, an initiative co-led by the World Health Organization and its partners to leverage global demand for the vaccine and ensure equitable distribution.

The company has also bilaterally signed deals with the United States, and the European Union to supply 300 million and 400 million doses of their vaccine respectively, should it prove to be safe and effective in Phase 3 trials. The company has committed to selling the vaccine at a “no-profit” price, although it is still unclear what the exact cost will be.

Image Credits: NIAID.

Combat the infodemic in health information and support health policy reporting from the global South. Our growing network of journalists in Africa, Asia, Geneva and New York connect the dots between regional realities and the big global debates, with evidence-based, open access news and analysis. To make a personal or organisational contribution click here on PayPal.