Sep 10, 2020 - Health

AstraZeneca still aiming to complete vaccine by year-end, despite trial pause

Photo: Nelson Almeida / AFP via Getty Images

Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot says the company is still aiming to complete development of its vaccine with the University of Oxford by the end of this year, despite pausing phase 3 trials due to a participant falling ill, Bloomberg reports.

The state of play: The person is suspected to be suffering from "neurological symptoms consistent with a rare but serious spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis," according to STAT News. It's not clear if the condition is related to the vaccine.

  • Speaking on a call to investors, Pascal could not say how long the trial will be paused for safety review.
  • Multiple COVID-19 vaccines have moved on to phase 3 trials, and AstraZeneca's remains a frontrunner.

Between the lines: It's "not uncommon at all" for clinical trials to be paused due to an ill patient, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday.

  • "We see this generally, for the most part, but you don't know until you investigate it — it's an adverse event that's related to something else that just happened to have occurred during the period of time that the clinical trial was on," he said on CBS News.
  • "But you can't presume that. You always make the presumption that it's due directly to the actual vaccine ... This is an example of the kind of thing that you do to make sure we're dealing with a product that's safe."
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