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Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca announced on Friday that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the company to restart phase 3 clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine, which were paused in early September.

Why it matters: All clinical trials were temporarily halted in September after a volunteer became ill with transverse myelitis upon receiving a second dose of the vaccine.

  • AstraZeneca had resumed its trials in the U.K. with permission from the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority days after the participant fell ill.

Driving the news: Johnson & Johnson — the only company testing a single-shot vaccine — also plans to resume its vaccine trial, the Washington Post reports. It paused on Oct. 12 after a participant suffered from a stroke, but it was concluded to be unrelated to the vaccine shot.

What they're saying: "The restart of clinical trials across the world is great news as it allows us to continue our efforts to develop this vaccine to help defeat this terrible pandemic," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said. "We should be reassured by the care taken by independent regulators to protect the public and ensure the vaccine is safe before it is approved for use."

  • "It is not unusual that in large scale vaccine trials, some participants will become unwell, and every case has to be evaluated to ensure the careful assessment of safety," the company said in its Friday announcement.

What to watch: AstraZeneca said it expects results from late-stage trials to be released later this year, depending on infection rates where the trials are being held.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.