AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine set to resume testing in UK, company says


LONDON – Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca will resume its coronovirus vaccine trial in the UK, the company said on Saturday, after a trial stopped last week when a participant became ill.

The company said in a statement, “Clinical trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford Coronavirus vaccine, AZD1222, have resumed in the UK following confirmation by the Medicine Health Regulatory Authority.”

Last week “a voluntary stay for vaccination in all global trials” began after a participant fell ill, AstraZeneca said, adding that it could not disclose medical information about the unhealthy participant for confidential reasons.

An independent review process and a British medical regulator have now recommended that “tests in the UK are safe to resume” and were given the green light for the recommendation, it said.

AstraZeneca has partnered with Oxford University to sponsor vaccine testing, until a recent break showed promising results.

“We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest level of conduct in our study, and will keep a close watch on safety,” Oxford University said in a separate statement on Saturday.

The statement said that about 18,000 individuals received the study’s vaccines as part of the trial.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said at a press event on Thursday that the company should know before the end of the year whether its experimental vaccine can actually protect people from COVID-19.

Soriot accepted a huge public scrutiny of pharmaceutical testing.

“The difference with other vaccine trials is the whole world is not seeing them,” he said on Thursday.

Download the NBC News app for the latest news on coronavirus

The Oxford clinical trials are Phase III Phase 3, scheduled to begin at US Pfizer, and Modern began its Phase 3 trials in late July and has already enrolled around 30,000 volunteers.

On Friday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Drs. Anthony Fauci warned that daily life in the US may not be normal until the end of 2021, when a vaccine could potentially be widely distributed.

The Oxford vaccine uses a type of virus called adenovirus to teach the immune system how to make antibodies to attack the so-called spike proteins that are coronoviruses. It is the spike protein that allows the virus to infect human cells.

AstraZeneca has already stated that it will work with health authorities around the world to supply approximately three billion doses of the vaccine “equally” to countries including Russia, China, the US and Brazil.

According to Johns Hopkins University data on Saturday, COVID-19 has killed more than 900,000 people globally so far.

Linda gutsh has contributed.