AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trials to resume


The COVID-19 vaccine trials for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — which were voluntarily paused on Sept. 9 and Oct. 12, respectively — are resuming after independent review panels confirmed their safety.

AstraZeneca put global trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate on hold after learning that a U.K. trial participant had developed a case of transverse myelitis. The drugmaker resumed the trial in the U.K. Sept. 12 after gaining approval from the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority, the country's equivalent of the FDA. AstraZeneca received FDA clearance to continue its U.S. trial Oct. 23.

"The restart of clinical trials across the world is great news, as it allows us to continue our efforts to develop this vaccine to help defeat this terrible pandemic," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a news release. "We should be reassured by the care taken by independent regulators to protect the public and ensure the vaccine is safe before it is approved for use."

Johnson & Johnson is also set to resume its trial, about two weeks after pausing it due to a participant's unexplained illness. Two anonymous sources told The Washington Post safety investigators determined the participant's stroke did not appear to be connected to the vaccine.

"With the information which we gathered to date and the information from external experts, the company found no evidence the vaccine candidate caused it,” Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson's chief scientific officer, told The Washington Post.


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