Testing of a discontinued coronavirus vaccine: reason for Johnson & Johnson’s decision

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Several companies are working simultaneously to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Unfortunately, Johnson & Johnson discontinued in-house vaccine clinical trials.

A few weeks after AstraZeneca stopped testing its own vaccine due to a patient’s illness, Johnson & Johnson officials made the same decision for their own clinical trials. The announcement was made on Monday by company officials, and the decision is related to the illness of a patient participating in the test.

The good part is that the patient in question did not get sick due to a coronavirus infection. The less good part is that the inexplicable disease he came to suffer from was not made public.

“We have temporarily stopped additional dosing in all of our clinical trials of an experimental vaccine against COVID-19, including all third-phase trials, due to an unexplained illness of a participant,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.

In the same statement, the company wanted to emphasize the difference between the wording “study break” and “regulatory shutdown”. As a reference, the first is taken internally, following a decision of the company’s management to clarify some details. The second is imposed by health authorities regulating drugs and vaccines, but has not been applied here.

The announcement also includes an additional assurance from the giant about a “strong commitment to safety”. Apparently, the study participant’s disease was examined by doctors operating at Johnson & Johnson, but also by members of an independent safety monitoring board.

Currently, the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson is in the third phase of testing out of a total of three. In this clinical trial, the vaccine is administered to thousands of participants and tested for efficacy and safety, while a number of other participants receive placebo. Last month, in September, the American company mentioned that it will call on 60,000 people from three continents to participate in the third phase of the study.

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