Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died. But it said that the trial would continue.
Oxford has confirmed that they plan to continue the testing of the vaccine, saying in a statement that after careful evaluation, "there have been no concerns about the safety of the clinical trial."
AstraZeneca has denied commenting anything in this matter.
According to esports, the clinical trial would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received the COVID-19 vaccine. The source says that the person who died was a part of the control group that was given a meningitis jab and not the vaccine shot.
The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is serving as a mediator to coordinate phase 3 clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, said an independent review committee was set up and had recommended continuing with the trials.
Personal details of the deceased volunteer have not been disclosed but the university has confirmed the volunteer was Brazilian.
The Brazilian university in a statement said, “Everything is proceeding as expected, without any record of serious vaccine-related complications involving any of the participating volunteers.”
The university spokesperson said, by far 8,000 of the planned 10,000 volunteers have been recruited to take part in the clinical trials. They have been given the first dose of the vaccine which includes volunteers from six cities in Brazil, and many have already received the second shot.
It has been reported that the volunteer who died was a 28-year-old man who lived in Rio de Janeiro and died from COVID-19 complications.
Anvisa has refused to provide any further details, citing medical confidentiality of those involved in trials.
AstraZeneca shares fell 1.8%.
Brazil's federal government intends to acquire the UK vaccine and produce it at a biomedical research centre at FioCruz in Rio de Janeiro. While another competing vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd is being tested by Sao Paulo state's research centre Butantan Institute.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in an official statement on Wednesday said the federal government has dropped the plans to buy the Sinovac vaccine.
With more than 154,000 people lost their lives to the virus, Brazil has recorded the second deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus. It is followed by the United States. Brazil has the third-largest number of covid-19 cases, with more than 5.2 million infected, after the United States and India.