(Adds Federal University of Sao Paulo statement)
SAO PAULO/FRANKFURT, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Brazilian health
authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a
clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca
and Oxford University had died but added that the trial
Oxford confirmed the plan to keep testing, saying in a
statement that after careful assessment "there have been no
concerns about safety of the clinical trial."
AstraZeneca declined to comment immediately.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the trial
would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received
the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting the person was part of the
control group that was given a meningitis jab.
The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is helping
coordinate phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil, said an
independent review committee had also recommended the trial
continue. The university earlier confirmed the volunteer was
Brazilian but gave no further personal details.
"Everything is proceeding as expected, without any record of
serious vaccine-related complications involving any of the
participating volunteers," the Brazilian university said in a
So far, 8,000 of the planned 10,000 volunteers in the trial
have been recruited and given the first dose in six cities in
Brazil, and many have already received the second shot, said a
CNN Brasil reported that the volunteer was a 28-year-old man
who lived in Rio de Janeiro and died from COVID-19
Anvisa provided no further details, citing medical
confidentiality of those involved in trials.
AstraZeneca shares fell 1.8%.
Brazil's federal government has plans to purchase the UK
vaccine and produce it at biomedical research center FioCruz in
Rio de Janeiro, while a competing vaccine from China's Sinovac
Biotech Ltd is being tested by Sao Paulo state's
research center Butantan Institute.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday the
federal government will not buy the Sinovac vaccine.
Brazil has the second deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus,
after the United States, with more than 154,000 killed. It has
the third largest number of cases, with more than 5.2 million
infected, after the United States and India.
(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo and Ludwig Burger in
Frankfurt; additional reporting by Ricardo Brito and Anthony
Boadle in Brasilia and Alistair Smout in London; writing by Jake
Spring; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Rosalba O'Brien)