Safety concerns trigger pause of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial

Safety concerns trigger pause of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has put its late-stage trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine on hold after a participant fell ill.

According to the British-Swedish multinational, which is working on the vaccine with Oxford University, the voluntary pause is part of its "standard review process".

The suspension, described as a "routine action", will give the company time to investigate the cause of the illness in the participant.

"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," says a spokesperson from AstraZeneca.

"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 announcement from the pharmaceutical giant comes just two days after biotechnology company CSL (ASX: CSL) announced it would be manufacturing 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to CSL, that vaccine is expected to be ready for the Australian public in early 2021. AstraZeneca has not indicated whether this pause will delay that timeline.

CSL also announced on Monday it would be producing 52 million doses of a vaccine developed by the University of Queensland if clinical trials are successful.

Updated at 10.40am AEST on 9 September 2020.

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