London: Two days after the worrying news of the clinical trials of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine candidate being halted, the drugmaker revealed that a participant had developed severe neurological symptoms.
It was found that a woman reported symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord. However, it has not been confirmed that it’s indeed transverse myelitis and more tests are being carried.
AstraZeneca claims that a “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data” and had paused the programme as a participant had developed “unexplained illness”.
An independent committee will review the study’s safety data before deciding whether the research will continue or not.
AstraZeneca had set up 30,000 people in the US for its phase III trials.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan of the World Health Organisation had described the hiccup as “a wake-up call” to the global community about the inevitable ups and downs of medical research and said that the vaccine candidates have been “quite promising” so far as they have triggered an immune response.