A potential coronavirus vaccine
(Getty)
  • Trials of a promising Covid-19 vaccine have been halted after one of its UK participants developed a "potentially unexplained illness".
  • The vaccine trial will also be halted in South Africa.
  • It was developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca, who described the halt as a "routine action".
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Trials of one of the most promising, frontrunner vaccines against Covid-19 have been halted after one of its participants developed a “potentially unexplained illness” .

The vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca, and is currently being trialled in South Africa as well as in Brazil, the UK and the US. 

A participant in the UK became ill with unknown symptoms.

READ | South Africans may own a big stake in Oxford’s promising Covid-19 vaccine – eventually

In a statement to the publication STAT, AstraZeneca described the trial’s halt, as a “routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”

"In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully," AstraZeneca said.

The company said it was “working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline”.

The trial with 18,000 participants in South Africa and elsewhere has been put on hold while an independent investigation reviews the safety data, the BBC reports. Regulators will then decide whether the trial can restart.

The trial is currently in its final phase of testing. 

Robert Booy, a University of Sydney professor of vaccinology, told the Guardian that pausing a trial based on a single unexplained illness reaction “is more likely the product of being super careful” as opposed to there being a serious issue with the vaccine.

This is the second time the trial was paused, the BBC reported.

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