Vaccine cd still be out by year's end - AstraZeneca

Expert panel to take 1wk-3mts to reach conclusions says IRBM

(ANSA) - LONDON, SEP 10 - AstraZeneca said Thursday they may still be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine out by the end of the year or the start of 2021 despite a temporary halt to testing due to a potentially severe adverse reaction in one of 50,000 test volunteers.
    AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told the British media that the experimental vaccine, produced with Oxford University and Italian research lab IRBM, "could still be on the market at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2021".
    Soriot said he could not say when trials will recommence but added that he was convinced that the project "remains on track to have a date by the end of this year" for a request for approval by health authorities.
    The drug giant on Tuesday suspended testing of its possible COVID vaccine after one of the participants suffered "a potentially serious adverse reaction".
    The temporary halt will enable the pharmaceuticals giant to revise safety and security data and protocols, it said.
    AstraZeneca shares fell 6% in trading in New York.
    Piero di Lorenzo, CEO of the IRBM research lab in Pomezia south of Rome, which is involved in the project, said "an adverse clinical picture presented in only one of the 50,000 volunteers on which the vaccine has been tested".
    Di Lorenzo told ANSA Thursday that an independent expert panel has been appointed to see if the reaction was caused by the vaccine, and may take between a week to three months to reach its conclusions.
    Sources told ANSA a spinal infection had led to the halt, but said the infection may not have been linked to the vaccine.
    A Terni-born psychiatrist living and working in Cambridge who is taking part in the trials, Antonio Metastasio, told ANSA Wednesday that he was "very well" and hoped the testing would continue.
    He said the precautionary halt to testing showed "the seriousness of the study and the safety it is being conducted in".
    Health Minister Roberto Speranza said last week that the first doses of the new Astrazeneca COVID vaccine should be available by the end of the year.
    Over 100 potential coronavirus vaccines are being created or tested around the world.
    Australia has secured a deal with AstraZeneca to supply its potential COVID-19 vaccine to its entire population free of charge, becoming the latest country to lock in supplies of the drug should trials succeed. (ANSA).


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