AZ resumes trial of COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Gupta breaks down Astra Zeneca Covid-19 trial pause

The trial was briefly paused for safety concerns after a participant in the Phase III COVID-19 study was hospitalized with suspicion of having developed a serious spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

The trial was suspended after a United Kingdom participant fell ill after inoculation. The voluntary pause was triggered on September 6 after a standard review identified an adverse reaction in one subject. The team made this move to review safety data by independent committees and even worldwide regulators, following a man falling ill while enrolled in phase 3 clinical trial.

The decision comes after the UK's Medicine Health Regulatory Authority confirmed that the trials were safe, and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Saturday said that clinical trials will resume in Britain.

Prior to the pause, AstraZeneca had begun phase-three trials in the United States, with plans to recruit up to 30,000 people to help test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate. She said in an email the company "will continue to work with health authorities across the world, including the FDA, and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume".

In this instance, a rapid review by the MHRA led to a recommendation the trials be restarted. A prolonged delay in the USA trial could slow access to the vaccine in the US.

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AZD1222 is one of the potential vaccines at phase 3 clinical trial level. The trial was swiftly restarted after investigations determined the illness was not related to the vaccine.

This COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed AZD1222, aka ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is being developed in association with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and is one of several now in late-stage Phase 3 trials.

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222 is a viral vector-based, weakened version of adenovirus containing the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body. In July, the company published positive Phase I data from its vaccine candidate that showed the preventative medication generated both neutralizing antibodies and immune T-cells that target the virus that causes COVID-19.

South Korea will secure early supply of the novel coronavirus vaccines for 30 million people, or 60 percent of its population, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Chung said the government will negotiate with the relevant global organizations and vaccine makers to secure the early supply of the COVID-19 vaccines and would buy more as the development proceeds.

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