The University of Oxford has said trials for the Covid-19 vaccine will continue, despite the death of a volunteer. The Brazilian health authorities said on Wednesday that one of the volunteers in the clinical trial had died.
An independent review has overseen the trial and the university say it found no safety concerns of the trial.
“Following careful assessment of this case in Brazil, there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial and the independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue,” a spokesperson said.
It is understood that the volunteer, a 28 year-old male from Brazil, did not receive the coronavirus vaccine. Instead, the volunteer received a placebo. Brazilian newspaper, O Globo report this but this has not been officially confirmed.
CNN Brasil has reported that the volunteer died of “Covid-19 complications”.
AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical giant with a license to perform the trial, have seen shares drop 1.7% on Wednesday evening.
A spokesperson from the company said they cannot comment on the individual cases of the ongoing trial.
“We adhere strictly to medical confidentiality and clinical trial regulations, but we can confirm that all required review processes have been followed.”
All significant medical events are “carefully assessed.” These assessments have not led to any concerns about the continuation of the trial, the spokesperson said.
AstraZeneca and Oxford are among the front-runners in a global race to produce a coronavirus jab. The UK government has signed a deal for 100 million doses.
The vaccine is in Phase 3 trials in multiple countries, including the US and India. This is the last stage before a treatment is seen as safe.
Possible dangerous side effects put the UK trial on hold last month and later restarting when the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority declared it safe to continue.
There were early results from the trial showing the vaccine was safe and produced strong immune responses in volunteers. Although, it is unknown how effective it will be.
Brazil has the second deadliest outbreak of COVID-19 after the US, with more than 154,000 deaths. After the US and India, it is the third-worst outbreak in terms of cases, with more than 5.2 million.