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ASTRAZENECA VACCINE TRIAL PAUSE A ‘WAKE-UP’ CALL: WHO

AstraZeneca’s pause of an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus after the illness of a participant is a “wake-up call” but should not discourage researchers, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist said on Thursday, Michael Shields and John Miller reported for Reuters on September 11, 2020.

“This is a wake-up call to recognise that there are ups and downs in clinical development and that we have to be prepared,” Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual briefing from Geneva. “We do not have to be discouraged. These things happen.”


Governments are desperate for a vaccine to help end the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused more than 900,000 deaths and global economic turmoil, and the WHO had flagged AstraZeneca’s, being developed with Oxford University, as the most promising.

However, the drugmaker suspended late-stage trials this week after a participant in Britain suffered from neurological symptoms. “It’s a race against this virus, and it’s a race to save lives. It’s not a race between companies, and it’s not a race between countries,” added WHO’s head of emergencies Mike Ryan.


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