Despite having paused its COVID-19 vaccine trials over an "unexplained illness", officials remain hopeful about a vaccine becoming available by the end of 2020.
The human trials of one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates, being developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and , has been put on hold after a UK participant had an adverse reaction to it.
But the biopharmaceutical giant which had descibed the pause as being "routine" without providing addtional details about the reason why, says that a vaccine may still be possible this year, in spite of the pause.
Earlier this year, medical journal The Lancet had said that the vaccine candidate appeared to be safe and induces an immune reaction, according to preliminary results. This was based on a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomised controlled trial was conducted wherein researchers assessed the "safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of a viral vectored coronavirus vaccine that expresses the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2".
According to the World Health Organisation, there are currently over 169 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development, with 26 of these in the human trial phase. At the same time, Russia says that it has created the first vaccine (Sputnik V) - a claim that many remain skeptical about.