A CORONAVIRUS vaccine trial has been halted after a volunteer suffered an “unexplained illness” while trialing the phase 3 jab.
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was forced to pause the 60,000 patient study as scientists around the world scramble to develop a vaccine.
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Drug companies are racing to develop a vaccine to fight the coronavirus[/caption]
It is not yet clear whether or not the patient had been on the placebo drug or the experimental vaccine.
It comes a month after the Oxford coronavirus trial was also halted after a Brit patient had an adverse reaction.
The shock setback was revealed by AstraZeneca – the drugmaker working with researchers at Oxford University – on September 8.
Just days later on Sept 12 the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) confirmed that it was safe to resume trials in a boost to the UK’s efforts to secure a Covid-19 vaccine.
Several drug companies are racing to develop a vaccine and trials are used as a way to test whether the jabs are fit for human consumption.
Setbacks such as the one Johnson & Johnson has seen and the pausing of the Oxford jab are normal in clinical trials of a large scale.
In a statement Johnson & Johnson said: “We have temporarily paused further dosing in all our Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials.
“Following our guidelines, the participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated.”
The trial is at phase 3, which means the vaccine is being given to thousands of people.
It is one of four advanced trials and one of six being trialled in the US.
The Johnson & Johnson jab would require patients to take just one dose – while other proposed jabs, such as the Pfizer and Moderna jab, would require two.
The condition of the affected patient is being examined by Johnson & Johnson as well as an independent board.
Dr William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said that it was likely the patient had suffered a “neurological event.”
The trial is taking place in the US and President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that a vaccine will be ready by or soon after the election on November 3.
Despite this health officials have previously indicated that a vaccine would not be ready until the spring.
Dr Scott Atlas, the president’s special advisor on coronavirus, said the government plans to distribute 700million doses by the end of the first quarter of 2021, likely in March.
“High-priority people” like healthcare workers and first responders would be the first to get vaccinated, and the focus would be on medical centers in minority communities, according to Atlas.
In the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously said there is “still hope” for a vaccine this year, but admitted that it would be “more likely” to come by early next year.
Mr Hancock said the military would be involved in administering a Covid vaccine – which he called the “great hope.”
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He said that the potential vaccine would be given to people “according to priority” and “clinical need.”
Health officials estimate that every adult could receive a dose of the vaccine within six months.
Human trials have been taking place since April and there are hopes it could be approved by regulators by Christmas.
Britain has 53million adults and to give each adult two doses of a vaccine within six months would mean 600,000 a day.