AstraZeneca resumes vaccine trial after a voluntary halt

AstraZeneca resumes vaccine trial

Oxford University has announced it will resume a trial for a coronavirus vaccine it is developing with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca after getting the green light from safety watchdogs.

The late-stage trials of the experimental vaccine were suspended last week following a reported side-effect in a UK patient.

In a statement, the university confirmed the restart across all of its UK clinical trial sites.

The patient involved in the study had been reportedly suffering from neurological symptoms associated with a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

Key Points

  • Around 18,000 people have received the trial vaccine
  • The vaccine was in late-stage clinical trials in the US, Britain, Brazil and South Africa
  • The Serum Institute of India has already begun the manufacturing of this vaccine.

The vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca has been widely perceived to be one of the strongest contenders among the dozens of coronavirus vaccines in various stages of testing around the world.

The company will continue to work with health authorities across the world and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume to provide the vaccine broadly, equitably and at no profit during this pandemic,” the company said in a statement

The Pune-based Serum Institute of India has already begun manufacturing the Oxford vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) for novel coronavirus

The Serum Institute

The world’s largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India in Pune, has an agreement to manufacture one billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, UK, and UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca if it is approved for use. The vaccine is currently undergoing phase III clinical trials in Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States to test its effectiveness.

If the vaccine works, the Serum Institute and the Indian government have committed to reserve half the company’s stock of it for India, and to supply half to low-income nations through GAVI, a funder of immunizations for low-income nations, says Adar Poonawalla, Serum’s chief executive.

So far, the company has invested 11 billion rupees (US$200 million) to manufacture the vaccine, and has produced about 2 million doses for use in regulatory clearances and testing, even before the trials have ended, Poonawalla says. Two factories that were producing other vaccines have been redirected to this effect, and the company can make 60 million to 70 million doses a month at full capacity, says Poonawalla

The Serum Institute of India isn’t widely known, but the company plays a crucial role in global health. As the world’s biggest manufacturer of vaccines by volume (not by revenue—that title goes to British GlaxoSmithKline), Serum makes vaccines for dozens of diseases, including measles, mumps, Diptheria, tetanus, and hepatitis-b, among others. According to the company’s website, 65% of children in the world receive at least one of its vaccines, and they’re used in over 170 different countries.