(WSYR-TV) — The race for a coronavirus vaccine is on pause for another company in the final stretch of testing.
Johnson & Johnson confirmed that an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers has put its late stage clinical trial on hold.
The company didn’t say whether the participant who got sick had received the experimental vaccine or a placebo. And it does not mean the adverse event is related to the study.
The illness came on as Johnson & Johnson was behind several of its competitors in entering the final stage of its study. But, its vaccine had some advantages over others.
It doesn’t need to be frozen and it could need just one dose instead of two.
In a statement, the company said:
“Adverse events — illnesses, accidents, etc. — even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies. It’s important to have all the facts before we share additional information.”
Johnson & Johnson’s trial is the largest, with 60,000 volunteers, but it isn’t the first trial to be paused for safety concerns.
Two participants in AstraZeneca’s trial became seriously ill after getting the vaccine. That trial was halted twice — most recently last month — and has still not resumed in the United States. Despite this, locations abroad swiftly broke the pause.
Experts say safety issues must be investigated and are one reason late-stage trials cannot be rushed or influenced by artificial timelines such as an election.
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