AstraZeneca resumes clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine after UK nod
Late-stage clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the drug firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have resumed. AstraZeneca said in a statement on Saturday that the clinical trials had been resumed in the United Kingdom after a nod from British regulators. Earlier this week, the firm had announced that it was putting a halt on the clinical trials.
'UK committee concluded trials are safe to resume'
AstraZeneca said on Saturday, "Clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, have resumed in the UK following confirmation by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) that it was safe to do so." The statement added, "The UK committee has concluded its investigations and recommended to the MHRA that trials in the UK are safe to resume."
AstraZeneca said it cannot disclose further medical information
AstraZeneca said that neither it nor Oxford University can disclose further medical information. "All trial investigators and participants will be updated with the relevant information and this will be disclosed on global clinical registries, according to the clinical trial and regulatory standards," the firm said.
Committed to safety of trial participants: AstraZeneca
Further, AstraZeneca assured that it is "committed to the safety of trial participants and the highest standards of conduct in clinical trials." It said, "The company will continue to work with health authorities across the world and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume to provide the vaccine broadly, equitably and at no profit during this pandemic."
What is the vaccine?
Oxford University and AstraZeneca are developing a COVID-19 vaccine, called AZD1222. The potential vaccine consists of the replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector (ChAdOx1) based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) containing the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the spike protein produced triggers an immune response that offers protection against future SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Trials were halted after volunteer fell ill
On Tuesday, it was announced that the clinical trials for AZD1222 had been halted. Reportedly, a trial volunteer had fallen ill after receiving the potential vaccine. Thereafter, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) had also paused the vaccine's combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in India. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had also asked SII to suspend recruitment in clinical trials.