Oxford, AstraZeneca to resume coronavirus vaccine trial: Why it matters

The pausing of trial triggered concerns across the globe as several countries have pinned their hopes to defeat the pandemic by developing vaccines which can prove to be a cure for the outbreak which has infected 28,551,911 people and claimed 916,715 lives so far, according to John Hopkins university.
The vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca is widely perceived to be one of the strongest contenders among the dozens of coronavirus vaccines(REUTERS)
The vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca is widely perceived to be one of the strongest contenders among the dozens of coronavirus vaccines(REUTERS)
Updated on Sep 12, 2020 10:38 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAgencies | Edited by Arpan Rai

Oxford University — one of the leading Covid-19 vaccine developers in the global race — resumed its trial for testing the drug it is developing with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Saturday. The resumption in proving the drug’s efficacy comes two days after it had to stop the trial after a UK volunteer reportedly fell ill.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the restart, saying in a tweet that it was “good news for everyone” that the trial is “back up and running.”

The pausing of trial triggered concerns across the globe as several countries have pinned their hopes to defeat the pandemic by developing vaccines which can prove to be a cure for the outbreak which has infected 28,551,911 people and claimed 916,715 lives so far, according to John Hopkins university.

Why it matters?

The vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca is widely perceived to be one of the strongest contenders among the dozens of coronavirus vaccines in various stages of testing around the world. It is also one of the nine candidates around the world currently in late-stage Phase 3 human trials.

Additionally experts believe Oxford prioritised safety protocol by pausing the trial in case of reported side-effects, showcasing responsible decision-making in such critical times.

Dr. Charlotte Summers, a lecturer in intensive care medicine at the University of Cambridge, said the pause was a sign that the Oxford team was putting safety issues first, but that it led to “much unhelpful speculation.”

“To tackle the global Covid-19 pandemic, we need to develop vaccines and therapies that people feel comfortable using, therefore it is vital to maintain public trust that we stick to the evidence and do not draw conclusions before information is available,” Summers was quoted as saying by news agency Associated Press.

Is a pause in developing vaccines normal?

Pauses in drug trials are commonplace and indicate careful progression by assessing possible side-effects of a drug-in-making. Global organization WHO and scientists have asked to keep expectations to a minimum, stating that vaccine trials are rarely straightforward and can take a tediously long time to be developed.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca study had been previously stopped in July for several days after a participant developed neurological symptoms that turned out to be an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis that researchers said was unrelated to the vaccine.

In case of this trial, the university maintains that in large trials such as this “it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety.”

How many people are included in testing this Covid-19 vaccine?

Globally some 18,000 people have received its vaccine so far in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. Around 30,000 volunteers are being recruited in the US.

By when is Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine expected?

After the pause, AstraZeneca had said it remained hopeful that the vaccine could still be available “by the end of this year, early next year”, news agency AFP reported.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, January 29, 2022