By Tony Winterburn • 21 September 2020 • 7:02
A second AstraZeneca vaccine volunteer has reportedly suffered a rare neurological condition, but the UK company says it’s not related to the vaccine.
A leaked AstraZeneca report has claimed that the trial of one of the world’s most promising coronavirus jabs was briefly halted as a second vaccine volunteer became ill. It is understood that a 37-year-old woman suffered a rare neurological condition that left her struggling to walk.
Two people have now fallen ill during the trials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in the UK. The company’s internal papers revealed they had both suffered from the same serious neurological disorder. The company published details of the trials on Saturday, after facing criticism over the lack of transparency surrounding the testing of the much-anticipated vaccine against the virus, which has so far infected more than 30.8 million people and caused over 958,000 fatalities worldwide.
The first participant of the British trials, conducted in conjunction with Oxford University, fell ill after receiving one dose of the experimental vaccine in July. The female volunteer was later diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the spinal cord, causing weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. The company’s spokeswoman later told the media the volunteer had undiagnosed multiple sclerosis.
Second Vaccine Volunteer ill
The second female recipient of the vaccine suffered complications after the follow-up dose in September. AstraZeneca didn’t actually confirm her diagnosis, but a source revealed it was also transverse myelitis. On September 6, trials of the drug were paused again, after the second woman felt ill, but they resumed in Britain, Brazil, India, and South Africa less than a week later. The US has yet to give the green-light for the continuation of the test, however.
AstraZeneca, which has administered its vaccine to some 18,000 people worldwide, said in internal documents that the two cases of the illness were “unlikely to be associated with the vaccine, or there was insufficient evidence to say for certain that the illnesses were or were not related to the vaccine.”
The CEO of Astra Zeneca said that it is not the first time vaccine trials have been halted.
Transverse myelitis is a serious and rare disease, and its repeated cases among the participants of the trials may well see AstraZeneca losing its vaccine bid altogether. AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses a monkey adenovirus that shares a gene with the COVID-19 coronavirus. It’s an untested method of vaccine development, according to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the Russian vaccine development.
Can you recover from transverse myelitis?
Recovery from transverse myelitis usually begins from two to 12 weeks after you first experience symptoms. Recovery can take up to two years. About one-third of people with transverse myelitis have a full or near-full recovery, with most of their symptoms gone.
Donald Trump recently admitted that Americans will not get their vaccine jabs until at least April 20201.
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