Japan resumes Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials: US continues to halt

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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COVID-19 Vaccine
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Even as the US authorities continue to persist with the abrupt halt for AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine candidate trials, Japan became the latest country to clear the tests. 

British-Swedish drugmaker resumed its early-to-mid-stage trial for the vaccine against the novel coronavirus after Japan’s national health regulator, the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency provided necessary approvals.

Clinical trials across the world for the vaccine AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 were abruptly halted last month after one of the British volunteers fell ill with a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis allegedly after he received the shot.

Trials have already resumed in India, Brazil, South Africa and the UK while US medical authorities have still held trials until they find conclusive inferences.

The vaccine maker called the stoppage as a routine review procedure which is bound to occur for trials conducted in larger scales. A report posted by Oxford University last month suggested that the illness of the volunteer which triggered the global halt may not have been associated with the COVID-19 cure.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meanwhile has expanded the scope of its investigations to include data from earlier trials of similar vaccines developed by the same group of scientists.

In a recent statement, AstraZeneca stressed that the safety of the participants was of “paramount importance” and that it was applying the highest standards of conduct in trials. The firm will reportedly provide the data from one of the most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development to the FDA later this week.