Vaccine trial stopped after neurological symptoms detected

Vaccine trial stopped after neurological symptoms detected

LONDON — A woman who received an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed severe neurological symptoms that prompted a pause in testing, a spokesman for drugmaker AstraZeneca said Thursday.

The study participant in late-stage testing reported symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord, said company spokesman Matthew Kent.

“We don’t know if it is (transverse myelitis),” Kent said. “More tests are being done now as part of the follow-up.”

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said its “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.” It did not provide any details other than to say a single participant had an “unexplained illness.” The vaccine was initially developed by Oxford University after the coronavirus pandemic began this year.

Kent said an independent committee was reviewing the study’s safety data before deciding if and when the research could continue.

The study was previously stopped in July for several days after a participant who got the vaccine developed neurological symptoms; it turned out to be an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis that was unrelated to the vaccine.

Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the U.S. for its largest study of the vaccine. It also is testing the vaccine in thousands of people in Britain, and in smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa. Several other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in development.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said the U.N. health agency wasn’t overly concerned by the pause in the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine trial, describing it as “a wake-up call” to the global community about the inevitable ups and downs of medical research.

Temporary holds of large medical studies aren’t unusual, and investigating any serious or unexpected reaction is a mandatory part of safety testing. AstraZeneca pointed out that it’s possible the problem could be a coincidence; illnesses of all sorts could arise in studies of thousands of people.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Maria Cheng, The Associated Press

vaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Anti-racism demonstration was not a ‘peaceful protest,’ as sides spar in Red Deer

Two groups that rallied in Red Deer on Sunday afternoon could only… Continue reading

Addressing anti-mask protests poses a challenge for leaders, experts say

Quebec’s COVID-19 case numbers hit their highest numbers since the end of May

Canada’s Kennedy to yesterday’s man: former PM John Turner dead at 91

Politicians and other public figures immediately began sharing memories

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

The 2020 Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., will be held as a special hybrid event

New tools, ideas needed to speed up housing strategy funding, CMHC president says

Slow turnaround time on some of its national housing strategy programs

Letter containing ricin sent to White House may have come from Canada: RCMP

The letter contained ricin, a toxic substance found naturally in castor beans

Nunavut reports first confirmed COVID-19 cases, saying both are mine workers

The territory says at this time, there is no evidence of transmission within site

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

The pandemic has shown how heavily Canada relies on migrant and undocumented workers

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

Former prime minister John Turner dead at 91

TORONTO — Former prime minister John Turner, whose odyssey from a “Liberal… Continue reading

Hay’s Daze: Happy to be left out of the picture

Talk about being out of the loop. Head in the sand. Uninformed,… Continue reading

Most Read