SPAIN’s purchase of three million doses of the British developed vaccine has hit a setback after one of the UK’s test subjects has fallen ill.
AstraZeneca, the Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company, has withdrawn all clinical trials in the UK until the cause of the subject’s illness is discovered.
“This is common procedure when any of our participants experience a potentially unexplained illness,” explained a spokesperson from AstraZeneca to CNBC.
“We temporarily suspend testing until the source of the illness is determined so that we can ensure the well being of the remaining participants.”
Although details of the British man’s illness is unclear, it is thought to be not classed as severe and he is expected to make a full recovery.
AstraZeneca has also reiterated that the investigation into the mystery illness will be accelerated to ensure that disruption of the trial will be minimal and the availability of vaccine will remain on schedule.
The vaccine is currently undergoing stage 3 trials in the US while in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, it is transitioning between stage 2 and 3.
The Ministry of Health in Spain has so far authorised the purchase of three million units to be delivered by the end of the year, with a further 20 million to be rolled out throughout 2021.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in conjunction with Oxford University, is one of three vaccines currently undergoing testing in the US, alongside offerings from fellow pharmaceutical entities Pfizer and Moderna.
It is also one of 173 other vaccines in progress as registered by the World Health Organisation, six of which have reached stage 3 of testing.