COVID-19 Vaccine Update: AstraZeneca puts leading COVID-19 vaccine trial on hold over safety concern

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Tuesday said that it has stopped giving shots of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a person participating in one of the company’s studies got sick. The company said that it is investigating whether the recipient's "potentially unexplained" illness is a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the company said its "standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data". AstraZeneca didn't reveal any information about the possible side effect except to call it "a potentially unexplained illness".

“Our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” company spokeswoman Michele Meixell told Reuters.

The COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford researchers at various sites, including the United Kingdom, where the illness was reported. "We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline," the company statement said.

AstraZeneca is developing the drug alongside the University of Oxford is a frontrunner in the global race for COVID-19 vaccine.

Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the US for its largest study of the vaccine. It also is testing the vaccine, developed by Oxford University, in thousands of people in Britain, and in smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa. Two other vaccines are in final-stage tests in the United States, one made by Moderna Inc. and the other by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech.

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