The oxford COVID-19 vaccine development has been put on hold after an ‘unexplained illness’ surfaced in the trial, drug maker AstraZeneca said on Tuesday.
According to the statement, the COVID-19 vaccine development was ‘voluntarily paused’ after a ‘standard review process was triggered’ to allow safety-check by an independent committee.
“This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” the company said in a statement.
The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, jointly developed by drugmaker AstraZeneca, is one of the most promising vaccine candidates racing around the world for a common goal. It is currently in its phase III clinical trial that involves thousands of volunteers.
AstraZeneca added illnesses turn up in large trials like theirs, and must be reviewed independently. “We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.”
The Oxford x AstraZeneca vaccine is also currently under development in the US. In India, the Oxford vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
NBC News confirmed the US counterpart of the Oxford-Astra vaccine trial was affected following the UK development. We The World has reached out to SII for comments.
Pausing vaccine trials for an unexplained side-effect is uncommon, but not unheard of, health experts suggest. A spokesperson from the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee said the issue will be out in detail in a few days.
The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is based on an adenovirus which pre-conditions the immune system to make antibodies and target the novel coronavirus when infected.