Phase three trials for AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine have resumed in the U.K. after they were halted earlier this week over safety concerns, raising hope that one of the leading candidates in the global race to develop an injection which can stem the pandemic is back on track.
AstraZeneca said it received confirmation from the United Kingdom’s Medicines Health Regulatory Authority that it was safe to resume clinical trials. The company declined to disclose medical information about the pause of the trial, but indicated earlier this week that a potentially unexplained illness was under investigation.
The company said “the standard review process triggered a voluntary pause” to all global trials on Sept. 6 so that independent committees and internal regulators could review the safety data. While trials can now resume in the U.K., the status of trials elsewhere remains unclear.
“The Company will continue to work with health authorities across the world and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume to provide the vaccine broadly, equitably and at no profit during this pandemic,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.
The University of Oxford, which developed the vaccine in partnership with AstraZeneca, said Saturday that some 18,000 people have so far received the vaccination in trials.