Serum Institute pauses India trials of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

A social distancing sign in Leeds city centre

A social distancing sign in Leeds city centre

Phase 3 of the human trial was scheduled to begin next week upon 1,600 volunteers across 20 sites in India.

The nasal spray joins about 35 other candidates now in human testing, as the global race to be first with an effective vaccine against the deadly pathogen intensifies. Once in the body, it mimics the natural infection of respiratory viruses to stimulate the body's immune response against the pathogen that causes COVID-19, Science and Technology Daily reports.

"It could be that we see some results end of the year, it could be early next year, but that's the time frame in which we start seeing the results", said Swaminathan.

Global Covid-19 cases and deaths

Days after AstraZeneca put on hold the late-stage trials of a coronavirus candidate vaccine, the pharmaceutical firm's Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said he still expects the vaccine to be out by as early as the end of the year.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, also sought to assuage concerns about the pause and stressed that clinical trials are often halted "whenever they find something that they need to investigate".

China on Wednesday approved phase I human testing for the nasal spray vaccine, which is co-developed by researchers at Xiamen University and Hong Kong University, as well as by vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co.

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Until yesterday's announcement, development of the Oxford vaccine had been powering ahead.

A file photo of a volunteer being injected with the trialled vaccine.

And he said the halt in testing reflected the global interest in finding a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Talking throughout a digital press convention on the WHO's Geneva headquarters, Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan mentioned there isn't a have to be "overly discouraged" by the pause within the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine trial as "this stuff occur". An emergency use authorisation, which is based on Chinese vaccine management law, allows unapproved vaccine candidates to be used among people who are at high risk of getting infected in a limited period.

RDIF has already signed several deals to export the vaccine overseas. The novel coronavirus, which originated from China's Wuhan city in December previous year, has claimed 904,485 lives and infected 27,902,002 globally.

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