COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine iStock

The Brazilian health authority said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, Reuters reported.

The authority added that it had received data from an investigation of the matter.

It said testing of the vaccine would continue after the volunteer's death, but gave no further details, citing medical confidentiality of those in the trials.

Reuters also cited the Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is helping coordinate clinical trials of the vaccine in Brazil and said that the volunteer who died was Brazilian, but did not note where the volunteer lived.

On Tuesday, sources told Reuters that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial in the United States is expected to resume as early as this week after the US Food and Drug Administration completed its review of a serious illness in a study participant.

AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage US trial has been on hold since September 6, after a participant in the company’s UK trial fell ill with what was suspected to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, had been seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine for COVID-19 until its trials were put on hold to investigate the illness. Early data from large-scale trials in the United States of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are expected some time next month, according to Reuters.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson paused the trial of its COVID-19 vaccine due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

A J&J spokesman on Tuesday said the study remains on pause as the company continues its review of medical information before deciding to restart the trial. J&J noted last week that its “study pause” was voluntary. By contrast, AstraZeneca’s trial is on “regulatory hold,” which is imposed by health authorities.

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