Promising COVID-19 vaccine trial on hold after participant suffers ‘unexplained illness’

Australia’s vaccine hopes have been dealt a blow this morning, with the front-running trial in the UK now on hold following ‘adverse reactions’.

The Astra Zeneca trial, being carried out by the University of Oxford, has had to be put on hold, after a participant had an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

The vaccine is one of two that Australia was hoping to purchase, with deals being done earlier this week so that we could manufacture it here, and roll it out to millions of Aussies for free.


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A statement from Astra Zeneca has confirmed the trial is now on hold.

“As part of the ongoing randomised, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee.

“This is a routine action which has to happen wherever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.

“In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully.

“We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise 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 statement reads.

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth has told Sunrise that this doesn’t affect our deal.

Obviously, we will see what happens with these reports for the Oxford vaccine and by no means puts that vaccine completely off the table.

“But that is a reason why the Australian government is investigating and investing in multiple technologies, multiple potential vaccine candidates.

“We know that not all of them are going to go to market and that is why we have got so many different vaccine candidates, I believe over 160 around the world at the moment, that are being tested and we have invested in several of the leading candidates,” Doctor Coatsworth said.

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