AstraZeneca Vaccine Faces Challenges
AstraZeneca announced it is pausing clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine after a participant developed an unexplained illness. All testing for this specific vaccine will be on hold until a review of safety data is conducted. The current study started last week in the U.S. and was provided with significant federal funding.
The British-Swedish company has been working with developers at the University of Oxford to create a vaccine, and their candidate was widely considered to be one of the world’s most promising. AstraZeneca’s stock price fell more than 8% in after-hours trading following the announcement.
Of course, this is bad news for more than just AstraZeneca’s investors. This setback could seriously increase the amount of time it takes to develop a safe and effective vaccine, and in a worst-case scenario could derail this specific vaccine trial altogether. Time will tell whether the unexplained illness is a coincidence or if it is a result of an unsafe vaccine. However, each additional day lost means more deaths and the continuation of lockdowns that hurt businesses.
The U.S. and U.K. governments have signed supply contracts with AstraZeneca and initially hoped to have the first deliveries by this fall. This setback could make that already very ambitious goal a significant challenge to meet.
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.