By Luciana Magalhaes and Samantha Pearson 

SÃO PAULO -- Brazilian health regulator Anvisa said clinical trials in the country for the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca would continue despite the death of one of the volunteers.

Oxford University said it had carried out a "careful assessment" of the case in Brazil and that "there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial."

AstraZeneca said in a statement that an independent assessment of the case didn't present "any concerns."

Brazil's Anvisa announced earlier Wednesday that it had been notified of the death on Monday and was investigating. It didn't give any information about the identity of the volunteer, or whether the person had taken a placebo dose or a real dose of the vaccine. Brazilian press reported that the volunteer was a 28-year-old man from Rio de Janeiro, who had died of complications from Covid-19.

"The fact that the trials were not suspended could indicate that the person took a placebo dose," said Carlos Fortaleza, an epidemiologist at São Paulo State University.

AstraZeneca's shares dropped as much as 1.7% but later pared back losses.

Brazil's federal government has set aside over $350 million to purchase the Oxford University vaccine, which will be produced and distributed by the country's Fiocruz scientific institution based in Rio. São Paulo is also developing another vaccine in partnership with Sinovac, a private Chinese company.

Write to Luciana Magalhaes at and Samantha Pearson at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 21, 2020 16:40 ET (20:40 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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