İrem UZUN -TDO- A 28-year-old volunteer in the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial has died in Brazil. A young participant passed away ‘as a result of complications from COVID-19’ on Thursday. Brazil’s health authority, Anvisa, and Oxford University confirmed the death but said the clinical trials will continue, adding an independent review had revealed no safety concerns. 

“Following careful assessment of this case in Brazil, there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial and the independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue,” a spokesman for the university said in a statement. Anvisa gave no further details on the death, citing confidentiality protocols.

There are high hopes that the vaccine could be one of the first to make it onto the market. It had successful phase 1 and 2 testing, while phase 3 testing is being carried out on participants in countries including the UK, Brazil and India. Trials of the Oxford vaccine were paused last month after a reported side effect in a patient in the UK but were resumed days later when it was deemed safe to continue. If approved, the UK would become the first country to deliberately infect people with the disease as part of a vaccination trial.

Shares of AstraZeneca, a front-runner in the COVID-19 vaccine race, gave up a slight gain after the news broke. Shares were down by about 1% in early afternoon trading after Anvisa announced the death of a volunteer.

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