The Halting of Trials
On September 8, just last week, the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca put a halt on their trials for a COVID-19 vaccine. This is a major setback in the race to find a preventative to the deadly virus that has been sweeping the world since December of last year. This short article will help you understand why trials stopped, and when they might be completed.
Why Were Trials Put to a Stop?
On Tuesday, September 8, a volunteer for the testing trials in Britain developed a neurological problem affecting their spinal cord. According to Dr. Francis Collins, “It’s not at all unprecedented…” to stop trials after one person out of 30,000 volunteers developed an illness. There is not much information being released yet, and it is not easy to speculate. The illness could be genetic, but it would still be too risky to roll out a vaccine with that in mind. It could affect other people differently, some could develop the same symptoms months or years after injection. Scientists at AstraZeneca will have to try new methods of making their vaccine, and they will have to do it quickly, as Pfizer and their team of scientists have created an experimental vaccine that shows only mild side effects.
When Will Trials Resume?
AstraZeneca began resuming some trials on September 12, in order to keep up with competition. There is no word from the company on when a finished vaccine will be available, but its rival, Pfizer, claim they could release one by mid-October. There is an apparent rush to roll out a vaccine before Election Day, on November 3. Whether or not this will be true is yet to be seen.