Johnson & Johnson’s clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine has been put on a temporary hold after a volunteer experienced an ‘unexplained illness’ due to some unknown reasons.
The company explained in their official statement posted on their website on Monday that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board as well as the company’s physicians are examining the illness of the participant.
Johnson & Johnson made it clear that this type of ‘serious adverse events’ is quite common in every clinical trial. The reason behind the illness is still unknown. The company is not sure if the illness is caused by the vaccine itself or a placebo.
The company’s statement says serious adverse events such as illness or accidents are expected in this kind of large clinical studies.
AstraZeneca also experienced a similar kind of obstacle just over a month ago when their clinical study for developing a potential Coronavirus vaccine with Oxford University also faced an ‘unexplained illness’ in the U.K. Their trial got back on track just after six days.
Phase 3 for the novel Coronavirus vaccine of Johnson & Johnson started in late September this year. This is one of the biggest clinical trials so far in the world with 60,000 participants from different parts of the world like Argentina, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
The vaccine is being developed by Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen in Belgium and they are using the same vector technology as the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
In the findings published by the company in late September, their potential vaccine is reported to develop a strong immune reaction against the SARS-CoV-2 in its early-to-mid stage clinical trial. The published report, however, does not mention anything about its effectiveness on the older participants.
None of the potential vaccines in the world have finished the phase 3 trial to date.
Whenever a new vaccine or drug is developed they usually go through multiple stages of human clinical trials before it is produced for mass usage, so there are no scopes for any side effects, short-term or long-term. Each phase includes more participants than in the previous stage.
The United States has already signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson and a few other companies who are in the line for developing a potential vaccine as soon as possible. The U.S. hopes to acquire a working vaccine by the end of this year.