WHO calls delay in AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine test a ‘wake up call’

A photo taken late May 29, 2020 shows a World Health Organization (WHO) insignia at their headquarters in Geneva, amid the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus.

Fabrice Cofferni | AFP | Getty Images

World Health Organization officials said AstraZeneca’s decision to delay phase three testing of its experimental Kovid-19 vaccine for safety reasons is a reminder that vaccine development is “not always a fast and straight road.”

AstraZeneca announced on Tuesday that it was holding onto stage three human trials for its potential vaccine, which is developing simultaneously with the University of Oxford, with participants showing signs of potentially serious adverse reactions. , Which was first reported for STAT News. Whenever there is an unexplained disease under investigation, the company told CNBC that the delay was a “routine action”.

WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said there was no need to be “overly discouraged” by the news on Thursday, saying “these things happen.”

“There is a protocol for when you do something,” Swaminathan said during a press conference at the organization’s Geneva headquarters. “If it is a mild side effect, then a few things should happen. If it is predominant in this case – it was a serious side event – and so the test was stopped. And again this is the usual procedure. It is good diagnostic. Is. Practice because safety is the highest, highest priority in any clinical trial. ”

While the WHO expects the vaccine trials to resume soon, it should wait for more information provided by a data and safety monitoring board that will determine how to proceed with the tests.

“I think this is a good one … maybe everyone has a call or a lesson to recognize the fact that there are ups and downs in research, ups and downs in clinical development and for those of us Have to be ready, ”she said. “We hope things can go forward but again it depends. It depends on a lot, and we’ll have to wait to see the details of what really happened.”

AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said Thursday that the company still needs to know whether its vaccine is effective against coronovirus by the end of this year, until testing begins soon, Reuters told.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.