Pause in AstraZeneca vaccine trial not necessarily a setback, says UK health minister

Pause in AstraZeneca vaccine trial not necessarily a setback, says UK health minister

Pause in AstraZeneca vaccine trial not necessarily a setback, says UK health minister

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chairs a Cabinet meeting

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday that AstraZeneca's decision to pause its coronavirus vaccine trials was a challenge but would not necessarily set back efforts to develop a vaccine.

AstraZeneca Plc said it had paused global trials, including large late-stage trials, of its experimental coronavirus vaccine due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

"It is obviously a challenge to this particular vaccine trial," Hancock said on Sky News when asked about the pause in the trial. "It's not actually the first time this has happened to the Oxford vaccine."

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Asked whether it would set back the vaccine development process, he said: "Not necessarily, it depends on what they find when they do the investigation."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Estelle Shirbon; editing by Michael Holden)

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