Why AstraZeneca just paused its coronavirus vaccine trial

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Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University have been put on hold.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. E.D.T. to include new information on the serious event that paused the trial.

Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University have been put on hold after a participant developed a suspected adverse reaction, Stat News first reported .

But don't worry; this is exactly how clinical trials are meant to work. The decision to pause the trial also doesn't mean the vaccine caused the adverse event; the side effect could have occurred by chance in someone who received the vaccine.

The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca "voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," a company spokesperson said in a statement . "This is a routine action that has to happen when there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials." In large clinical trials with thousands of participants, "illnesses will happen by chance," but each illness must be independently reviewed to uncover whether the reaction was at all related to the vaccine, the…
Nicoletta Lanese
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