A coronavirus vaccine currently in its final clinical trials, and promised to Malta when approved, has been put on hold after a participant tested ill.
The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, moved to Phase Three testing in recent weeks which included human trials of some 30,000 participants in the US, UK, Brazil and South Africa.
However, the trial has been put on hold after a UK participant developed an unexplained illness.
AstraZeneca has brushed off the illness as a “routine” part of the trial and the patient is expected to recover.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine is at the forefront of the race to find a vaccine for COVID-19 and has procured an agreement with the European Commission to be distributed around the continent once approved.
Last month, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that Malta has been allocated a total of 330,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, which will make it one of the first countries to protect its vulnerable and frontliners.
Fearne also noted that Malta will secure more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be made available for the rest of the population.
A decision to restart the AstraZeneca-Oxford University trial could be taking by medical regulators as early as this week. In the meantime, all vaccination trials have been put on hold.