Final clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, are placed on hold after a participant had a suspected adverse reaction within the UK.
AstraZeneca described it as a “routine” pause within the case of “an unexplained illness”.
The outcome of vaccine trials is being closely watched around the world.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine is seen as a robust contender among dozens being developed globally.
Hopes are high that the vaccine could be one among the primary to return on the market, following successful phase 1 and a couple of testing.
Its move to Phase 3 testing in recent weeks has involved some 30,000 participants within the US also as within the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. Phase 3 trials in vaccines often involve thousands of participants and may last several years.
The NY Times is reporting a volunteer within the UK trial who has been diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the medulla spinalis and may be caused by viral infections.
However, the explanation for the illness has not been confirmed and an independent investigation will now compute if there was any link to the vaccine.
Wellcome Trust director Sir Jeremy Farrar, an expert in communicable disease control, said there have been often pausing in vaccine trials and it had been important any adverse reactions were taken seriously.
“It is crucial that each one that data is shared openly and transparently because the general public must have absolute trust that these vaccines are safe and effective and, within the end, will hopefully bring the pandemic to an in-depth,” Sir Jeremy added.
UK experts have said a short-lived pause might be seen as an honest thing because it showed the researchers are prioritizing the security of vaccine above everything else.
People can develop side-effects from taking any drug but they will also fall ill naturally.
Where are we within the look for a vaccine?
US President Donald Trump has said he wants a vaccine available within the US before 3 November’s election, but his comments have raised fears that politics could also be prioritized over safety within the rush for a vaccine.
On Tuesday, a gaggle of nine Covid-19 vaccine developers sought to reassure the general public by announcing a “historic pledge” to uphold scientific and ethical standards within the look for a vaccine.
AstraZeneca is among the nine firms that signed up to the pledge to only apply for regulatory approval after vaccines have skilled three phases of a clinical study.
Industry giants Johnson & Johnson, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Merck, Moderna, Sanofi and Novavax are the opposite signatories.
They pledged to “always make the security and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says nearly 180 vaccine candidates are being tested round the world but none has yet completed clinical trials.
The organization has said it doesn’t expect a vaccine to satisfy its efficacy and safety guidelines so as to be approved this year due to the time it takes to check them safely.
Similar sentiments are shared by Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers. The industry body represents the businesses that signed the pledge.
Despite this, China and Russia have begun inoculating some key workers with domestically developed vaccines. All of them are still listed by the WHO as being in clinical trials.
Meanwhile, the US national regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has suggested that coronavirus vaccines could also be approved before completing the 3rd phase of clinical trials.
Last week it also emerged that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had urged states to think about waiving certain requirements so as to be able to distribute a possible vaccine by 1 November – two days before the three November presidential election.
Although President Trump has hinted that a vaccine could be available before the election, his Democratic rival Joe Biden has expressed skepticism that Mr. Trump will hear scientists and implement a transparent process.