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Coronavirus: Vaccine safety a must, says WHO as key trial paused

Reuters/Geneva
Filed on September 10, 2020 | Last updated on September 10, 2020 at 01.10 am
Coronavirus, Vaccine safety, a must, says, WHO, key trial, paused

(Reuters)

Rollout of an effective vaccine is seen as a crucial step in helping battered economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Safety of a prospective Covid-19 vaccine comes "first and foremost", the World Health Organisation's chief scientist said on Wednesday, as a trial of a leading candidate from AstraZeneca was paused due to concerns over side effects.

Rollout of an effective vaccine is seen as a crucial step in helping battered economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

"Just because we talk about speed...it doesn't mean we start compromising or cutting corners on what would normally be assessed," Dr Soumya Swaminathan said in a social media event.

"The process still has to follow through rules of the game. For drugs and vaccines which are given to people, you have to test their safety, first and foremost," she said.

WHO officials did not immediately respond directly to questions from Reuters over the move by AstraZeneca to pause global trials, including large late-stage trials, of its experimental coronavirus vaccine due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

The vaccine, which AstraZeneca is developing with the University of Oxford, has previously been described by the WHO as probably the world's leading candidate and the most advanced in terms of development.

The WHO is in the midst of rounding up support for a global coalition, called the ACT Accelerator, in the hope of fairly distributing vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for the new coronavirus to rich and poor countries alike.

 

 


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