In a significant development, Johnson & Johnson on Monday (October 12) announced that it had temporarily halted the trial of its coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine after one of its participants fell ill.
“We have temporarily paused further dosing in all our Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials, including the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial, due to an unexplained illness in a study participant,” the company said in a statement.“We must respect this participant’s privacy. We’re also learning more about this participant’s illness, and it’s important to have all the facts before we share additional information,” added the statement.
The decision taken by the US-based company means that it has closed the online enrollment system for the 60,000-patient clinical trial and will now convene an independent patient safety committee.Meanwhile, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said that the world cannot just wait for the COVID-19 vaccine and try to save lives with tools we have at hand. The WHO chief made the remarks while addressing a meeting of the Regional Committee of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean.
“Through the access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the COVAX Facility, we’re working to ensure that if and when a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, it will be accessible equitably for all countries in your region. But we cannot just wait for a vaccine. We must save lives with the tools we have at hand,” Tedros said.
“It’s hard to imagine that when this Committee met a year ago, COVID-19 was still completely unknown to us. How the world has changed,” he added.
While briefing the media, the WHO Chief stated that each of the last four days has been the highest number of cases reported so far and that many cities and countries are also reporting an increase in hospitalizations and intensive care bed occupancy.