It is “not uncommon at all” for a vaccine maker to pause its trials to review safety concerns, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News on Wednesday.
Fauci made the comments after AstraZeneca, one of the frontrunners in the global attempt to create a COVID-19 vaccine, announced Tuesday night that it had paused global trials of its vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers, CNN reported.
“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company said in a statement.
Fauci emphasized to CBS that “I think it’s important to point out that that’s the reason why you have various phases of trials, to determine if in fact these candidates are safe. It’s really one of the safety valves that you have on clinical trials such as this.”
He added that “It’s not uncommon at all. We see this generally, for the most part, but you don’t know until you investigate it – it’s an adverse event that’s related to something else that just happened to have occured during the period of time that the clinical trial was on.”
However, Fauci stressed that “you can’t presume that. You always make the presumption that it’s due directly to the actual vaccine … This is an example of the kind of thing that you do to make sure we’re dealing with a product that’s safe.”