Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday that it's "not uncommon at all" for a vaccine maker to pause its trials to review safety concerns, following news that AstraZeneca had done so on its phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trials due to a participant having a severe adverse reaction.

Driving the news: AstraZeneca, one of the frontrunners in the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine, said on Tuesday that the patient is expected to recover but did not make clear what the reaction was.

  • "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 minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline," the company said in a statement.

What they're saying: "I think it's important to point out that that's the reason why you have various phases of trials, to determine if in fact these candidates are safe, Fauci said on CBS News. "It's really one of the safety valves that you have on clinical trials such as this."

  • "It's not uncommon at all," Fauci added. "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 occured during the period of time that the clinical trial was on."
  • "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."

The big picture: Multiple COVID-19 vaccines have moved on to phase 3 trials, but some worry the process has been rushed and could be susceptible to political pressure.

  • Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn has said he would be willing to fast-track the vaccine via an emergency use authorization before phase 3 trials conclude, but insisted he would not do so for political reasons.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

Oct 24, 2020 - World

Poland's president tests positive for coronavirus

Duda. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced on Saturday.

The big picture: Duda is reportedly feeling well and in isolation. His positive test comes amid a massive uptick in COVID-19 throughout the country and elsewhere across Europe.

  • Poland had previously warded off the virus with relative success, but is now facing a massive influx of cases that threatens to overwhelm its medical system.
  • The nation on Saturday tracked "13,628 new cases and 179 new deaths — a record number of deaths in one day since the start of pandemic," AP reports.
Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Australian city Melbourne to exit one of world's longest lockdowns — In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe
  4. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure
  5. Nonprofit: Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery