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South African volunteers in AstraZeneca vaccine trial not worried about suspension

Volunteers in the human trial of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa said they are not worried about its suspension after a participant became ill.

Robyn Porteous, a vaccine trials' volunteer, is injected with a vaccine as part of the country's human clinical trial for potential vaccines after being tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Wits RHI Shandukani Research Centre in

AstraZeneca's global human trials of the potential Covid-19 vaccine were paused on Tuesday due to an unexplained illness suffered by one of its participants, but South African volunteers in the study have said they are not concerned about the news.

2,000 AstraZeneca trial volunteers in South Africa

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the AstraZeneca drug - which is being developed by Oxford University - is the world's leading and most advanced candidate vaccine. Around 2,000 volunteers have been participating in the trial in South Africa, but it is set to be on hold for a while until this participant's illness is justified.

A 27-year-old female participant who has been a part of the trial since July said she hadn't been personally told about its suspension, but she is not worried about the unexplained illness since she hasn't developed any symptoms.

Another participant aged 32 said: "It doesn't make me feel afraid particularly since my own experience hasn't yet seen me suffer any negative side effects. I totally understand and respect the need for extreme caution and the following of strict process, so I appreciate the Oxford trial's honesty about this matter".

Over 600,000 coronavirus cases in South Africa

South Africa has been the worst-hit African nation in the pandemic, and the fifth globally, with a caseload of more than 640,000 infections and over 15,000 deaths.