Brazilian volunteer in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial dies

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Regulator says testing of the vaccine would continue after the death and provides no further details.

Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, stating it had received data from an investigation into the matter.

The regulator said testing of the vaccine would continue after the volunteer’s death. It provided no further details, citing the medical confidentiality of those involved in trials.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is helping coordinate phase three clinical trials of the vaccine in Brazil, separately said that the volunteer was Brazilian but did not say where the person lived.

AstraZeneca shares turned negative and were down 1.7 percent.

The federal government already has plans to purchase the vaccine and produce it at its biomedical research centre Fiocruz in Rio de Janeiro, while a competing vaccine from China’s Sinovac is being tested by Sao Paulo state’s research center Butantan Institute.

Brazil has the second-deadliest outbreak of coronavirus, with more than 154,000 killed by COVID-19, following only the United States. It is the third-worst outbreak in terms of cases, with more than 5.2 million infected, after the US and India.

The US paused trials of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which is based in the United Kingdom, after reports of serious illness during the UK trial, pending a review from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Sources told Reuters on October 20 that the US trial could resume as early as this week, following the completion of the FDA review.

The FDA did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment on whether the death of the Brazilian volunteer would impact the resumption of the trial in the US.



Al Jazeera and News agencies

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