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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."

Go deeper

Dec 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden to publicly receive COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden will receive their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine in public on Monday in order "to send a clear message to the public, that it's safe and consistent with security and medical protocols," incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is 78 years old, meaning he is at-risk for severe coronavirus infection. Dozens of White House staff and members of President Trump's inner circle have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past few months of the pandemic.

Updated Dec 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers receive COVID-19 vaccine

McConnell (L) and Pelosi (R). Photo: J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) received their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from the attending physician of Congress on Friday.

The latest: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) received the first dose of the vaccine on Saturday, saying afterwards, "[a]s the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue wearing masks and engage in social distancing. That is how we will beat this virus and end this terrible pandemic.”

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.