The hold placed on the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine clinical trial continues, Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health Human Services said during a briefing on Friday.
“That moratorium persists,” he said. “FDA continues to review safety information, and we’ll just have to see over the next week or so where that turns out.”
Four of the six candidates for a vaccine are currently in Phase three clinical trails, he said. One of those is the paused AstraZeneca trial.
“The other three are doing exceptionally well,” Mango said, adding that minority recruiting has “exceeded the threshold necessary to ensure we have the appropriate diversity.”
“Both Moderna and Pfizer – as you’ve read – are essentially completed with their recruiting into their clinical trials,” Mango said.
“In Johnson and Johnson, the Janssen product, really just started just in the last couple of weeks. And just by way of reminder, again, that’s a single dose vaccine, not two doses, so we anticipate that they’ll get through their clinical trials a bit faster than the other two,” he added.
Some background: AstraZeneca announced last month that it had paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.
“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company said in a statement sent to CNN.
National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins told a Senate hearing that it’s a standard precaution in vaccine trials meant to ensure experimental vaccines don’t cause serious reactions among participants.
“To have a clinical hold, as has been placed on AstraZeneca, as of yesterday, because of a single serious adverse event, is not at all unprecedented,” Collins said at a hearing of the Senate Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
The company is testing its vaccine, called the Oxford vaccine because it was developed with Britain’s University of Oxford, in the United States as well as the UK, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.