The executive director of the pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, said that the coronavirus vaccine could be by the end of this year or early next, despite the last phase of the trial having been paused as a result of an adverse effect that occurred in a volunteer.
“We could have a vaccine by the end of this year, early next year” depending on how fast the regulatory body is moving, Soriot said at a meeting organised by the Tortoise media group.
The director explained that it is common for there to be pauses in trials caused by “adverse events”, but that “the difference is that the whole world is watching us” when referring to other research.
The laboratory developing the experimental vaccine with Oxford University suspended phase three trials on Tuesday after one of the volunteers in the United Kingdom developed adverse effects.
Soriot did not confirm the symptoms that the person had, but according to British media he suffered from neurological problems associated with a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.
In that sense, the executive said that more tests were being done on the person who fell ill and that the data will be presented to an independent safety committee that will evaluate them and decide if the tests can be resumed.
“At AstraZeneca we put science, safety and the interests of society at the centre of our work. This temporary hiatus is living proof that we follow those principles, as a committee of independent experts evaluates a single event at one of our test sites”, stated a previous statement from the laboratory.
Soriot also stressed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) pointed to the vaccine as the most promising to combat the coronavirus and maintained that it is very common for a trial to be suspended, with the difference that this time the world was looking at the investigation.
This is the vaccine that Argentina will also develop – through the biotechnology company mAbxience, of the Insud Group – in conjunction with Mexico for distribution in Latin America.