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AstraZeneca resumes U.S. Covid-19 vaccine trial and Johnson & Johnson prepares to do same

A sign marks an AstraZeneca facility in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

AstraZeneca has resumed the U.S. trial of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine after approval by U.S. regulators, and an oversight panel has recommended that Johnson & Johnson resume its trial as well, the companies said on Friday.

AstraZeneca’s U.S. trial was paused on Sept. 6 after a report of a serious neurological illness, believed to be transverse myelitis, in a participant in the company’s UK trial.

U.S. Health and Human Services Deputy Chief of Staff Paul Mango also told reporters he was optimistic a U.S. trial by J&J would resume.

J&J paused its large, late-stage trial last week after a study participant became ill and the company said an independent safety panel was investigating.

AstraZeneca trials in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa resumed last month even as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continued its investigation into the case.

Reuters earlier this week reported that the FDA had completed its review and that the AstraZeneca U.S. trial was set to resume as early as this week, citing four sources familiar with the situation.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is being developed along with researchers at Oxford University.

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