In race for coronavirus vaccine, safety trumps speed

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Soriot said he could not say when trials will recommence but added that he was convinced that the project "remains on track to have a date by the end of this year" for a request for approval by health authorities.

The first challenge is to mobilize scientists from around the world: to achieve, as quickly as possible, a vaccine capable of stopping the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The far-right president has instead allocated 1.9 billion reals (RM1.48 billion) to purchase another vaccine candidate, developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

A nurse holds China's Sinovac vaccineat the Sao Lucas Hospital of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), in Porto Alegre, Brazil August 8, 2020.

"What is true is that you will see transverse myelitis mentioned in the product information of several other vaccines", he said.

The Reuters news agency also reported that the illness happened in the British trial.

The vaccine in question is one of nine that are undergoing the final phase of clinical testing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"We could not do this for every single vaccine or drug because the system would not be supporting it, the regulator would not have the resources", Mr. Soriot said.

Phase 3 trials, which assess efficacy, can also look for less common side effects only be detected when vaccines are tested on large numbers of people.

"We received a request regarding Phase III trials for this vaccine".

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One investor on the call said Soriot's comments were meant to reassure investors that the company was taking the possible vaccine safety event seriously, and to reverse any damage to the company's stock price.

STAT first reported the pause in testing on Tuesday evening.

The Australian government signed an agreement with AstraZeneca last month to secure the vaccine, with a total 84 million doses to potentially be rolled out in stages next year, pending successful trials.

At least eight African countries, including South Africa, Gabon, Namibia and Equatorial Guinea had agreed to self-finance access to the vaccine, Moeti said. "It's really one of the safety valves that you have on clinical trials such as this".

Mr. Soriot said that although transverse myelitis was rare, it had surfaced in other vaccine projects.

Dmitriev argued that the western media were silent on the dangers of using experimental approaches to vaccine development such as those based on the chimpanzee adenovirus.

AstraZeneca described it as a "routine" pause in the case of "an unexplained illness". The committee - made up of clinicians, epidemiologists, and vaccinologists from the United Kingdom, as well as South Africa - will determine if this particular event might biologically be related to the participant having been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, or if there is another explanation for the event.

Professor Shabir Madhi, executive director of the vaccines and infectious diseases analytics research unit, said that pausing vaccination demonstrated the rigour of the oversight process.

The suspension of the trial has impacted other AstraZeneca vaccine trials - as well as clinical trials being conducted by other vaccine makers. That is one of many unknowns.

They pledged to "always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority".

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