Johnson & Johson has paused the clinical trial for its coronavirus vaccine following an “unexpected illness” in a participant.
Health experts have said that pauses in vaccine trials aren’t uncommon and mean that safety precautions are working. It’s the second vaccine trial to be paused in the U.S. A vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University was put on pause last month after a participant fell ill. That trial hasn’t yet resumed in the U.S.
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It is unclear how long Johnson & Johnson’s pause could last. The company said there is a “significant distinction” between a study pause and a regulatory hold of a clinical trial, which could last much longer.
“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,” the company said in a press release Monday night.
The vaccine’s phase three trial launched last month, making it the fourth vaccine candidate to reach final stage trials in the U.S. The company at the time said it plans to enroll up to 60,000 volunteers at more than 200 clinical research sites in the U.S. and other countries. The vaccine was developed by Belgium-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The vaccine requires just one dose, making it logistically easier to produce and roll out than one that requires two doses with time in between each injection.