AstraZeneca’s experimental coronavirus vaccine

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A 37-year-old volunteer who was healthy prior to receiving AstraZeneca’s experimental coronavirus vaccine suffered “confirmed transverse myelitis,” that is, inflammation of the spinal cord, after receiving the second dose of the drug.

The woman was hospitalized on September 5. On September 8, the pharmaceutical company announced that Phase 3 trials of the vaccine that it is developing in conjunction with the University of Oxford, would be temporarily halted worldwide; they were resumed on Saturday 12 September in the UK.

According to a report by CNN, which obtained an internal security document from AstraZeneca called “Initial Report” dated September 10, the affected volunteer had problems walking and weakness and pain in her arms. This report would have been distributed on September 11 to the doctors who lead the trials of the pharmaceutical company.

What would have happened

The woman, who lives in the UK, received the first dose of the experimental vaccine in early June, and the second dose in late August. On September 2, she experienced a kind of jolt while running and the next day she experienced difficulty walking, headache, pain and weakness in her arms, lack of sensation in her torso, and decreased ability to use her hands. Three days later she was hospitalized with a diagnosis of transverse myelitis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, transverse myelitis is an inflammation of both sides of a section of the spinal cord. This condition interrupts the messages that the nerves in the spinal cord send throughout the body, so it can cause pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory problems, or bladder and bowel dysfunction.

Among the causes cited by the medical institution are infections and disorders of the immune system, or other disorders of myelin (the insulating material that covers the fibers of nerve cells), such as multiple sclerosis.

The document obtained by CNN details that the woman consulted a neurologist who confirmed the diagnosis and that she had also observed a recovery “quite fast considering that her illness began only four days ago.”


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