AstraZeneca denied news reports Wednesday that suggested its coronavirus vaccine trial was stopped because of a case of transverse myelitis – a rare inflammatory condition of the spinal cord.
“Reports claiming to be based on comments made earlier today by our CEO stating that we have confirmed that a participant in our clinical trial suffered from transverse myelitis are incorrect. He stated that there is no final diagnosis and that there will not be one until more tests are carried out,” a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical giant said in a statement emailed to CNN.
“Those tests will be delivered to an independent safety committee that will review the event and establish a final diagnosis,” the spokesperson added.
AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had paused vaccine trials globally because of an undisclosed event, but did not elaborate on what it was. The New York Times had quoted a source saying a trial volunteer had transverse myelitis.
On Wednesday, STAT News reported that the company’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, told investors in a conference call that the trial was stopped because a woman volunteering in the trial had symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis.
There was a similar incident earlier, the AstraZeneca spokesperson said.
“We can also confirm that there was a brief trial pause in July while a safety review took place after one volunteer was confirmed to have an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis, which the independent panel concluded was unrelated to the vaccine,” the spokesperson said.