Covid-19 vaccine researchers left in the dark as trials remain on hold

Just a handful of volunteers received their first doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate before the trial was put on hold.

By Erika Edwards, NBC News

In early September, 37 volunteers received their first dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate at University Hospital at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The drugmaker’s vaccine requires two doses, given about a month apart. But just days after the trial began, it was put on hold.

Six weeks later, with the trial still paused, the participants have missed the window to receive their second dose. The researchers, it now appears, will essentially have to start from scratch.

“Several of those participants have reached out, asking, ‘What’s the deal?'” said Dr. William Hartman, principal investigator at the UW Health trial site. “We just don’t have anything to tell them.”

As many as 1,500 people were tapped to participate in the phase 3 clinical trial of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate at UW Health. As the trial remains on hold, hundreds of boxes stocked with supply kits sit untouched in a closet in the hospital’s clinical research unit. Experimental vaccines remain in a freezer, unused. Read more …