Trials of a Kovid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will resume after being stopped due to a reported side effect in a patient in the UK.
On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said the studies were being paused while investigating whether adverse reactions were associated with the vaccine.
But on Saturday, the university said it was deemed safe to continue.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock Welcomed the news that the test will resume.
“This stagnation shows that we will always give protection first. We will return our scientists to deliver a safe vaccine as soon as possible,” he said.
The university said in a statement that it was “expected” that “some participants would become unwell” in such large trials.
It added that the study could now resume after recommendations from an independent safety review committee and the UK Regulatory, Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
It would not disclose information about the patient’s disease for confidentiality reasons, but the New York Times reported that a volunteer in a UK trial was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and is viral. May be due to infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that around 180 vaccine candidates are being tested worldwide but none have yet completed a clinical trial.
Hopes have been high that the vaccine may be one of the first to come to market after successful Phase 1 and 2 trials.
In recent weeks its move to Phase 3 trials has involved some 30,000 participants in the US as well as the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials in vaccines often involve thousands of participants and may last for several years.
The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Valence, told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday that what had happened in the Oxford trial was not unusual.
Risk of ‘losing control’
The news comes after Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the government’s scientific advisory group Sage, warned that Britain was “on the edge of losing control of the virus”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “You’ve only got to see on the channel what is happening in France and what is happening in Spain.”
Official data released on Saturday shows that 3,497 people in the UK have tested positive with the virus. It is the second day in a row that the number of daily reported cases has exceeded 3,000.
This confirms a total of 365,174 cases so far. Meanwhile, government figures showed another nine people died within 28 days of testing positive for Kovid-19, with the death toll in the UK at 41,623.
Official figures indicate that the UK’s coronavirus epidemic is on the rise again, with R numbers – the virus’s fertility rate – rising between 1 and 1.2 for the first time since March.
According to the latest figures from the Scottish Government, daily coronavirus cases in Scotland reached a four-month high.
A total of 241 people tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours – the highest daily figure since May 8, when 225 positive tests were performed.
The new “six rules” intended to stop the restrictions are due to come into effect on Monday.
Indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England, except under certain circumstances, such as for work or school. Rule breakers could be fined.
In Scotland, socialization will be limited to a maximum of six people inside and out – but unlike England they must be from two households, and children under 12 are exempt.
In Wales, starting Monday, it will be illegal for more than six people from an extended home to meet indoors – but up to 30 can still be found from outside.
Local restrictions for parts of Northern Ireland, including Belfast and Ballymena, are set to come into effect on Monday, aimed at reducing contact between people in homes in affected areas.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gov agreed that fines could be necessary to self-segregate people if necessary.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I don’t want to see a fine, but more than that, I don’t want to see people behaving in a way that is most susceptible to risk.”