CANBERRA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Australia’s deputy chief medical officer (CMO) said the decision to pause trials of a leading coronavirus vaccine candidate “reinforces” the safety of trials.
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Wednesday temporarily put on hold the Phase III study of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine following an unexplained illness in one trial participant in Britain.
It comes two days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his government had reached vaccine deals with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, and also with the University of Queensland and Australian biotechnology company CSL.
Responding to the announcement, deputy CMO Nick Coatsworth said the decision to pause trials “reinforces that despite the accelerated nature of vaccine developments safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.”
“We’ll see what happens with these reports for the Oxford vaccine, and by no means puts that vaccine completely off the table,” he told Seven Network television.
“But that is a reason why the Australian government is investigating – investing in multiple technologies, multiple potential vaccine candidates.”
As of Wednesday afternoon there had been 26,465 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 93.
It is Australia’s biggest daily increase in cases in six days.
The death toll has grown by 11 to 781. All of the deaths were in Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Of the new cases, Victoria confirmed 76.
“Within Victoria, 31 of the new cases are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 45 are under investigation,” said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Wednesday.
“Nine of today’s 11 deaths are linked to known outbreaks in aged care facilities. To date, 694 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.” Enditem