COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Resumes in the US

Currently, there are a number of vaccines for COVID-19 that are being investigated, one of which is AZD1222. The trial was paused back in September when a participant became ill in the UK. Doctors were able to diagnose him with transverse myelitis, and after heavy investigation the trial has been given the green light to proceed.

About Transverse Myelitis

Transverse myelitis occurs when the central nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, becomes inflamed. This inflammation can be the result of viral infections, bacterial infections, and inflammatory conditions like multiple sclerosis. At times, the cause is unknown. Regardless of the cause, this condition causes symptoms like pain that shoots throughout the body, weakness in the arms and legs, abnormal sensations like tingling, and problems with the bladder and bowels. These symptoms will occur in an episode, meaning that they subside after some time. However, there are complications that can linger even after an episode. These include pain, spasms, tightness, stiffness, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and partial or total paralysis of the legs and arms.

About the Trial

AstraZeneca, the creator of the vaccine, had to pause its global Phase III trial after one of the participants fell ill with transverse myelitis. Fortunately, the affected individual was able to receive treatment from a London hospital and has been released.

In response to this, the FDA and other regulatory agencies began intense investigations into the vaccine. The FDA also began looking into other vaccines developed by Oxford University, as they partnered with AstraZeneca for this trial. The goal was to ensure that no other vaccines were seeing similar problems.

The trial was allowed to resume in the UK first, as the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) decided that the evidence did not point to the vaccine as the cause of transverse myelitis. South Africa, India, and Brazil have resumed their arms of the trial as well.  It was not until October 23 that the FDA allowed the trial to continue in the US.

Now that the trial is back on track, AstraZeneca expects that they could have results by the end of the year. If all goes well, they plan to produce two billion doses of the vaccine.

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