Date: 10-Sep-2020

AstraZeneca Says Oxford Coronavirus Vaccine Human Studies Paused Voluntarily After Subject Reported Unexplained Illness

AstraZeneca has communicated that its ongoing AZD1222 randomised, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine was voluntarily paused after a subject for the human studies manifested an unexplained illness.

AZD1222 was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus 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.

Now AZD1222 humans studies are currently underway in the UK, Brazil South Africa and the US. Trials will determine how well the vaccine will protect from the COVID-19 disease and measure safety and immune responses in different age ranges and at various doses.

The company said “Our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee. 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.”

"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, stated a communiqué from the company.