Investing.com – A key milestone in research on a COVID-19 vaccine at Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca has been abruptly halted due to illness in one of the experimental vaccine participants, Bloomberg writes.
The company said it has suspended trials to give researchers time to study the data on the vaccine's safety and side effects, while maintaining the integrity of the research. The organization's specialists cannot yet determine what exactly the test participant got sick after vaccination, and whether this is due to the coronavirus vaccination.
>> South Korea will purchase Remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus
Bloomberg warns that this news may shock investors. It appeared after the close of the American market, without having time to become an additional factor in the collapse, which continues for the third day. However, AstraZeneca shares lost 4.8% in premarket Wednesday.
Global platforms will react nervously to each such episode, Bloomberg notes. The likelihood of error is growing in the light of the race of pharmaceutical companies to lead the production of the first vaccine against coronavirus. Additional pressure on manufacturers is exerted by the administration of US President Donald Trump, who wants to get closer to the beginning of mass vaccination of the population before the election of the head of state.
The vaccine, which AstraZeneca is working on with researchers from Oxford University, is one of the favorites in the race. According to the plans, the companies are supposed to take part in research of up to 50 thousand people during the last stages of testing in the UK, USA, Brazil and South Africa, as well as in the future – in Japan and Russia.
>> Worldwide mass vaccination against COVID-19 in the world will begin in the middle of next year
AstraZeneca says the suspension of tests is “routine.” Company spokesman Michelle Meixel was quick to calm the market: “This is a common action that should occur whenever a potentially unexplained disease is detected in one of the stages of testing.” And although Meixel said it was too early to talk about a diagnosis of a sick patient, a note appeared in the New York Times citing a source that a volunteer was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that is usually caused by infections.
The incident is currently being investigated by the Data Security Monitoring Board – external experts who monitor potential damage from experimental drugs and vaccines during clinical trials. It has already been suggested that the patient's illness was caused by a reaction to a large dose of the drug (an injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine involves the administration of large doses of monkey adenovirus). So this, or otherwise, the council will find out, and if it decides that the disease is caused by reasons not related to the vaccine itself, then the trial can be continued.
– When preparing the news, materials from Bloomberg were used.