Scientists on Wednesday praised the decision by AstraZeneca to suspend its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trials and begin a safety review after learning that a participant had developed a serious neurological condition. Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, testifying at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, said the step “ought to be reassuring.”
The results of the safety review, to be conducted by an independent board of experts, will help determine if the participant’s condition was a reaction to the vaccine candidate or merely coincidental, and are expected to heavily influence whether and when trials might resume.
But many details about the trial’s suspension and the event that triggered it remain murky. Researchers do not yet know what caused the volunteer’s symptoms, how long the evaluation process will take or what the consequences might be….