Oxford clinical trials restart after halt to probe volunteer illness

By Viviana García

London, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine being carried out by Oxford University and AstraZeneca have restarted after a temporary halt was ordered when one of the volunteers fell ill.

The vaccine being developed at the prestigious university is one of the most promising of the numerous research projects being conducted around the world.

Scientists are scrambling to find a functioning vaccine for Covid-19 to curb the pandemic that has so far infected at least 28 million people and killed 900,000 around the world.

In a statement, Oxford University confirmed clinical trials would restart after a precautionary pause on 6 September. It was given the go-ahead by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority.

The vaccine is in the final stages of clinical trials, the last step before regulators approve its use on the general population.

The European Union on 14 August announced it had signed a contract with AstraZeneca to guarantee 300 million orders of an eventual vaccine. The pause in the clinical trials sparked concern in Europe and further afield.

Oxford University confirmed in its statement that 18,000 volunteers around the world have received a dose of the CHAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine as part of its clinical trials and, given the scope of the research, illnesses by chance were likely.

“The ongoing randomized controlled clinical trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine CHAdOx1 nCoV-19 will resume across all UK clinical trial sites,” the statement said.

“In large trials such as this, it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety.”

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