Drug giant AstraZeneca paused all global trials of its coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday because of a suspected adverse reaction in one of its participants in Britain, the company said. It is not yet clear whether the reaction was caused by the vaccine.

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CDC releases illustration of the Coronavirus.

While trial holds are a standard precaution, the suspension is a significant blow to hopes that a shot will be ready in the coming months.

Drug companies are racing against time to develop a vaccine that protects against Covid-19, endeavoring to put an end to a pandemic that has left almost 900,000 people dead. AstraZeneca’s project is one of the most promising efforts. It is one of eight companies with late-stage, large clinical trials underway globally, and has said it aims to have a vaccine ready by the end of the year. But if the adverse reaction is in fact linked to the vaccine, that timeline could be thwarted.

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Trump at a rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Tuesday.

In a statement, AstraZeneca described its move as a “routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.”

The company said it was “working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline” and that it was “committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.”

As President Donald Trump appears to push for a vaccine to be approved by Election Day, November 3 — a target that medical experts have said is unrealistic — regulators and companies alike are trying to bolster the public’s trust in the authorization process. On Tuesday, nine companies, including AstraZeneca, pledged that they would not move ahead with products before their safety and efficacy was proven.

Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech are confident they can have a vaccine ready for regulatory approval by the middle of October or early November, BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin told CNN Tuesday.


Q: So your kid has a Covid-19 symptom. What do you do now?

A: The widely varied symptoms associated with Covid-19 can make it hard to distinguish the virus from other maladies that circulate in the fall. A table on the CDC website shows significant overlap between the symptoms of Covid-19, colds, influenza, asthma, seasonal allergies and strep throat. That’s a good reason to be cautious.

“Right now, everyone is erring on the side of being super careful,” said Dr. Alison Tothy, a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Chicago. “The recommendation is that if your child has a new onset of cold-like symptoms — including runny nose and a cough — that they need to follow up with their pediatrician.” And it’s possible that the pediatrician will recommend a Covid test.

Time can often provide a bit of clarity. “After a couple of days, what starts as ‘Is this allergies or Covid?’ very quickly will evolve, and you’ll have a better idea of what is going on,” she said.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.


As cases spike, England moves to limit gatherings to six people

England, which is seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases, will ban most social gatherings of more than six people beginning next week.

The new lower limit, revised down from 30, will make it easier for police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings of more than six people unless it meets one of the exemptions. Exemptions include: A household or support bubble larger than six, if gatherings are for work or education purposes, weddings, funerals, or organized team sports.

Trump and campaign crowd appear to violate mask order

A crowd of hundreds of people gathered for a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina on Tuesday, many of them forgoing masks in defiance of the state’s guidelines — including the President.

Before Tuesday’s event, the Republican chairman of the local county commission said the President should wear a mask during his speech, a virtually unimaginable prospect for a President who has mocked election rival Joe Biden for wearing one and who demanded reporters remove their face coverings when asking him questions on Monday.

US needs 200 million Covid-19 tests a month

The United States needs to perform as many as 200 million coronavirus tests every month well into next year if there’s to be any chance of controlling the pandemic, experts said in a new report released on Wednesday.

That is way beyond current capacity, but new, fast tests are being developed and once they reach the market it should be possible, according to the report from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.

The report comes a day after National Institutes of Health directors said that testing “as many people as possible” was vital to helping fight the pandemic. Their joint blog post contradicts recently changed guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicates that not everyone who believes they have been exposed needs to be tested.

ON OUR RADARTrick-or-treating will not be allowed in Los Angeles County this Halloween due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus. More than half a million US children have been diagnosed with Covid-19 so far, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. The pandemic is jeopardizing decades of work in reducing preventable childhood deaths, a new report finds. Colorado will launch a partnership with Apple and Google to allow for Covid-19 exposure notifications on cellphones to improve contact tracing. Intensive care unit beds in the southern French city of Marseille are almost full, according to authorities. TOP TIPS

This year, getting the flu shot is more important than ever — even if you aren’t coming into contact with anyone else in your daily life.

“I understand the desire for social distance, but I think it’s also important to get a flu shot this year,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. “It’s important to get one every year, but perhaps even more important this year because we’re probably going to have a convergence of both flu and coronavirus this fall. So, anything we can do to reduce flu I think is going to be really important.”

While the prospect of a double hit of Covid-19 and the flu is alarming, there are promising signs in the Southern Hemisphere, where influenza rates appear to be lower than in recent years. Experts say an increase in flu shots and precautions taken to combat Covid-19 could be behind that trend.


“I do not feel pressure that we would be asked to do things that we would not feel comfortable with.” — Virologist Hanneke Schuitemaker

What does it feel like working on something that could save the world? CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks with Hanneke Schuitemaker, PhD, the Global Head of Vaccine Discovery and Translational Medicine at Janssen Pharmaceutica. She reflects on her work leading the team that’s developing a Covid-19 vaccine. Listen Now.

Video: CDC tells states to prepare for vaccines as soon as late October (CNN)

CDC tells states to prepare for vaccines as soon as late October

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