Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trial is now on hold, after a participant became ill. Though pauses are not uncommon throughout the study or trial process of new medication, the pressure and demand of developing a vaccine to fight COVID-19 has cast a spotlight on those pauses.
Study pauses can vary, sometimes just last days. Little information has been given about the patient, but Johnson & Johnson’s researchers are studying the patient’s illness.
The same trial was set to begin recruiting participants in Northwest Indiana recently and has also been put on hold for the time being.
Dr. Robert Buynak is the owner of Buynak Clinical Research in Valparaiso, and facilitator of the vaccine study in the Region. He said the selection of northwest Indiana to find participants was based on COVID-19 cases, its geographic location and diverse minority populations.
“If a medication is studied in one group, but then it’s being used by another more diverse group, can you say the effects are the same in the study group, then the group actually using the drugs?” Buynak said.
Buynak said this is important since minority groups are primarily experiencing higher rates of mortality and infection when it comes to COVID-19.
Johnson & Johnson is conducting Phase 3 of their vaccine study with more than 60,000 participants enrolled.
This is the second COVID-19 vaccine trial that has been put on hold, due to an unexplained illness. The first was a vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which is still being reviewed by U.S. officials.