"We have temporarily paused further dosing in all our COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials..."

Johnson & Johnson, becoming at least the second company to pause its COVID-19 clinical vaccine trial, due to an unexplained illness in a participant.

  • On October 12, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced it will pause all of its single-dose and two-dose regimen trials, including its Phase III ENSEMBLE trial, which began in September and aimed to enroll up to 60,000 participants.
    • We don’t know exactly what the “unexplained illness” involves, but J&J notes that study pauses due to adverse events are common.
      • ¬†Just last month, U.K.- based drug company, AstraZeneca paused its Phase III vaccine trials worldwide due to an unexplained illness. Trials have resumed in many countries, including the United Kingdom, but not in America.
    • On Tuesday, J&J’s head of research & development said the company is investigating the matter, but that he doesn’t know whether the participant received the vaccine or a placebo.
  • It can take up to a decade for vaccines to go through the research and approval process, but J&J said it hopes to be able to supply over a 1 billion vaccine doses next year .
  • BIG PICTURE: There’s a historic vaccine development race underway,¬†with more than 40 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials currently underway. About a quarter of those trials are Phase III (the last stage before approval) – including at least two now-paused J& J trials.