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Safety paramount in vaccine trials, suspensions 'not unusual', WHO says

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) ahead of a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - Safety is paramount in vaccine clinical trials and temporary suspensions are not unusual to evaluate any unexplained illness in a participant, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday regarding the pause in an AstraZeneca AZN.L COVID-19 trial.

AstraZeneca AZN.L has suspended global trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after an unexplained illness in a participant, knocking the British drugmaker's shares on Wednesday as prospects for an early rollout dimmed.

“We are pleased to see vaccine developers assuring the scientific integrity of the trials and abiding by the standard guidelines and rules for the development of vaccines,” the WHO said by email in response to a Reuters query.

The WHO recommended “strict adherence to established testing protocols in all vaccine trials to ensure the safety of volunteers and the eventual safety and efficacy of vaccines”, it added.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alex Richardson

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