AstraZeneca Pharma India shares dived nearly 7 per cent on Wednesday, after its parent company, AstraZeneca, "voluntarily paused" a randomised clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine, citing unexplained illness of a volunteer. The AstraZeneca Pharma stock declined by as much as 13.40 per cent - or Rs 64.80 - to Rs 3,650 apiece at the weakest level recorded on the BSE during the session, having started the day weaker at Rs 3,800 compared to its previous close of Rs 4,214.80. (Track AstraZeneca Pharma India Shares Here)
"As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The nature and severity of the illness is not yet known. In large trials, illnesses occur by chance and trials do get paused for an independent review. But this is the first instance of a pause in COVID-19 vaccine trials.
AstraZeneca is one of nine companies in late-stage Phase 3 trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates. It has collaborated with the University of Oxford to develop the vaccine.
The vaccine, called AZD1222, uses a weakened version of a common cold causing adenovirus that has been engineered to code for the spike protein that the novel coronavirus uses to invade cells.
The stock recovered half of intraday losses by mid-afternoon deals.
At 12:54 pm, AstraZeneca Pharma shares traded 6.52 per cent lower at Rs 3,940 apiece on the BSE, underperforming the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index, which was down 0.68 amid a selloff across most sectors.