Volunteer in Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial dies
Published: 10:40 AM, 22 October 2020
A volunteer, who participated in the clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca, has died in Brazil.
Citing unnamed sources, the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that the volunteer was in a control group that did not receive the experimental vaccine and died of Covid-19.
The volunteer was a 28-year-old physician who treated coronavirus patients in Rio de Janeiro, the news service G1 said.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that Brazil's health authority has given no details about the death, citing confidentiality protocols.
Oxford University said a "careful assessment" had revealed no safety concerns.
Only around half the volunteers in the trial are given the actual Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine. The second group are being given an existing licensed vaccine for meningitis.
Neither the participants nor their families know which vaccine they are being given. This enables the researchers to compare the results for the two groups in order to measure whether the vaccine is effective.
AstraZeneca said in a statement that it could not comment on individual cases but it "can confirm that all required review processes have been followed".
"All significant medical events are carefully assessed by trial investigators, an independent safety monitoring committee and the regulatory authorities," it said. "These assessments have not led to any concerns about the continuation of the ongoing study."
There are high hopes that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could be one of the first to make it onto the market. It had successful phase 1 and 2 testing, while phase 3 testing is being carried out on participants in countries including the UK, Brazil and India.
Trials of the Oxford vaccine were paused last month after a reported side effect in a patient in the UK but were resumed days later when it was deemed safe to continue. - BBC, Washington Post