(Reuters) – Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc has announced that it has suspended global trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, including late-stage trials, due to illness in one of the participants.
The World Health Organization has named the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford as probably the most promising in the world and the most advanced in terms of development. The suspension of trials is impairing the prospects for early market launch of this vaccine.
The Russian group of companies R-Pharm has agreed with AstraZeneca on the production of a vaccine against COVID-19, Alexey Repik, chairman of the board of directors of R-Pharm, said on the air of the state channel Russia-24 in July.
AstraZeneca previously also received permission to conduct the third stage of clinical trials of the AZD1222 vaccine in Russia, follows from the state register of clinical trials.
The British pharmaceutical company said it had voluntarily suspended trials to allow an independent committee to review the vaccine safety data.
“These are the usual steps that should be taken whenever a potentially unexplained disease is present in one of the studies,” the company said in a statement.
The nature of the disease has not been disclosed, but the trial participant is expected to recover, according to Stat News, which was the first to report the suspension of trials.
The New York Times, citing a source familiar with the situation, reported that it was a British resident who was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory process that affects the spinal cord and is often caused by viral infections.
It is not known if the disease is directly related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the NYT said. AstraZeneca declined to comment on this post.
AstraZeneca was down more than 8% in over-the-counter trading in the US, while rival vaccine developer Moderna Inc gained more than 4%. AstraZeneca's Indian subsidiary, AstraZeneca Pharma (LON: AZN) India Ltd, fell more than 12%.
(Dina Beasley with contributions from Peter Henderson in San Francisco, Rocky Swift in Tokyo, Sangmi Cha in Seoul and Miyung Kim in Singapore. Translated by Vladimir Sadykov. Editor Marina Bobrova)