Oxford University has said that trials of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine that it has been developing with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will now resume, just a few days after being ‘voluntarily paused’ due to an ‘unexpected illness’ of a patient in the U.K.
Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa recently said that the first doses of the vaccine could be available in Spain ‘by the end of this year’, if all things went well.
Spain has agreed with the European Commission to participate in the plan to purchase up to 400m doses for EU countries from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, as soon as the vaccine is confirmed to be safe and effective.
In a statement, Oxford University said that in large trials such as this ‘it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety’.
Globally, some 18,000 people have received the vaccine as part of the trial.
The university would not disclose information about the patient’s illness for reasons of participant confidentiality but insisted that it is ‘committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our studies and will continue to monitor safety closely.’
The New York Times had previously reported that a volunteer in the UK trial had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and can be caused by viral infections.
The progress of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine called AZD1222 is being watched closely around the world, as it is seen as one of the leading contenders among several being developed globally.
AstraZeneca is one of nine companies that are currently in late-stage Phase 3 trials for their vaccines. In the USA, the company began enrolling 30,000 volunteers across dozens of sites on 31 August.
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