J&J puts Covid-19 vaccine trial on pause

An unexplained illness puts question mark over the emergency authorization the company was hoping to secure in early 2021.

Following reports of a patient falling ill, J&J decided to put its late-stage Covid-19 vaccine study on hold. The 60,000-patient phase 3 study had been running for several weeks prior to the pause - a relatively uncommon occurrence in large studies should there be safety concerns. When the study was kicked off, the company had hoped all would go as planned so it can generate sufficient data to obtain emergency authorization in early 2021.

The company is currently waiting for the independent drug safety monitoring board (DSMB) to perform an independent analysis to assess whether the patient in question had been administered the actual vaccine or the placebo – a process expected to concluded in the coming days.