Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has said on Tuesday it had “voluntarily paused” a randomized clinical trial of its Coronavirus vaccine in what it called a routine action after a volunteer suffered a “potentially unexplained illness”.
In a statement by the company, which is developing the drug alongside the University of Oxford, stated that “as part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford Coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.”
It added “this is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”
Speaking on the decision made by the company to pause the vaccine trial, Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is a challenge but would not necessarily set back efforts to develop a vaccine.
The final clinical trials for a Coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University was put on hold after a participant had a suspected adverse reaction in the United Kingdom.
Following successful phase 1 and 2 testing, the high-profile vaccine from AstraZeneca is seen as a strong contender among dozens being developed globally.
In recent weeks, its move to Phase 3 testing has involved some 30,000 participants in the US as well as in the UK, Brazil, United States and South Africa.
However, a final decision on restarting the trial will be taken by the medical regulator, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which could take only days.
Global Coronavirus Cases Surpass 30 Million
Johns Hopkins University says more than 30 million people around the world have tested positive for coronavirus infection, and more than 20 million of them have recovered.
New Zealand reported no new cases of the coronavirus for the first time in five weeks as Australia’s Victoria City experienced a spike in infections.
Canada’s top medical officer, dr. Theresa tam, has warned of a resurgence and that the country could lose its ability to manage the pandemic because of a spike in new COVID-19 cases.
Authorities have also set a new rule, clamping down on parties, and fines for people who hold social gatherings in defiance of new limits.
Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency has endorsed the use of widely known steroid dexamethasone for the treatment of COVID-19 patients on oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
EU Endorses Dexamethasone For Patients On Oxygen Therapy
The European health regulator has on Friday endorsed using dexamethasone to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulty, paving way for the steroidal medication to possibly become the region’s second approved medication for the illness.
Back in July, Gilead’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, was the first to be approved for COVID-19 by Europe a month after the EMA endorsed the drug.
And now, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said based on its review of results of a study by UK researchers, it concluded that dexamethasone – a commonly used drug against a range of inflammatory conditions – can be considered a treatment option in adults and adolescents needing oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation.
While approvals are up to the European commission, it typically follows the EMA’s recommendation for its decision.
The EMA said the recommended dose in adults and adolescents, from 12 years of age and weighing at least 40 kgs, is 6 milligrams once a day for up to 10 days.
On Friday, the global confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 30 million as the number of deaths from virus neared one million.
According to data by the Johns Hopkins University, some 20.4 million persons have recovered from the disease worldwide.
The United States remains the worst-hit country in the world, logging more than 6.7 million cases. India and Brazil had 5.1 million and 4.4 million cases, respectively.
Liberia: Health Workers Declare Nationwide Strike
Liberia health care workers have begun an indefinite strike. The nurses and healthcare workers in the country started the stay at home action after a two-week notice they had earlier given the government to meet their demands expired.
Local reporters calling the radio programme from different parts of the country said the strike was ongoing at many health facilities.
The workers want basic working materials, protective equipment, better salaries, and the right to form a union.
The leader of the workers, Joseph Tamba said on Wednesday he had gone into hiding because he was receiving threats. Information minister Eugene Nagbe has disputed his claim.
Meanwhile, the minister said the government had made “some overtures” to address the healthcare workers’ concerns.
He warned that the names of those who will continue with the strike action “will be removed from the payroll and replaced” in accordance with, what he called the civil service law.
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