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UPDATE 3-AstraZeneca pauses coronavirus vaccine trial, shares slip on rollout doubts

Wed, 9th Sep 2020 13:02

* Trials halted due to health condition of a participant

* Independent panel to review any link to vaccine prototype

* AstraZeneca has supply deals for 3 bln doses
(Updates with details from CEO call reported by Stat)

By Ludwig Burger

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca's suspension
of global trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after
an unexplained illness in a study subject in Britain has cast
doubt on prospects for an early rollout.

The vaccine, which Britain's AstraZeneca is developing with
the University of Oxford, has been described by the World Health
Organization as probably the world's leading candidate and the
furthest developed.

AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it had paused trials, including
late-stage ones, to allow an independent committee to review
safety data, and it was working to minimise any potential impact
on the timeline.

"It is obviously a challenge to this particular vaccine
trial," Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News.

The patient was suffering from neurological symptoms
associated with a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called
transverse myelitis, said Chief Executive Pascal Soriot,
according to Stat News, citing investors who had listened to a
call it said was organised by J.P. Morgan.

The diagnosis has yet to be confirmed, but the patient is
recovering and will likely be discharged from the hospital soon,
the CEO reportedly added.

The pause follows reports that the United States was aiming
for fast-track authorization or approval before November's
presidential election.

(Reporting by Guy Fauconbridge, Estelle Shirbon, Kate Kelland
in London and Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Additional reporting
by Peter Henderson in San Francisco, Rocky Swift in Tokyo,
Sangmi Cha in Seoul and Miyoung Kim in Singapore; Editing by
Alexander Smith, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Bill Berkrot)

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