American based medical device and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has temporarily halted had its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials after a study candidate started suffering from unknown illness.
In a statement the company said the participant in question is being evaluated and reviewed by an independent data and safety monitoring board together with the clinical and safety physicians of the company.
J&J claims such pauses are normal in big trials which can include up to tens of thousands of study participants. The company clarified that the trial pause in administering the vaccine was different from a regulatory hold required by health authorities.
Last month, U.K based AstraZeneca Plc. (AZN) also took a similar pause to its trials after a participant developed unexplained illness. This came as a blow as the company’s vaccine was seen as a front runner in the race of developing a vaccine against the deadly virus.
A professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Dr. William Schaffner, says that everyone is on high alert now depending on what happened with AstraZeneca further saying it might take a week to collect information on the development.
“It would have to be a serious adverse event. If it was something like prostate cancer, uncontrolled diabetes or a heart attack they wouldn’t stop it for any of those reasons. This is likely to be a neurological event,” said Schaffner.