A 28-year-old Brazilian doctor who died in the middle of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the country was from the control group who was given a placebo. Therefore, the complications because of which he dies were related to coronavirus infection and unrelated to the vaccine candidate.

The deceased, Dr. Joao Pedro R. Feitosa, passed away on October 15th. Initially, it was believed that the volunteers had received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, later it was confirmed that he belonged to the control group and received a placebo rather than the actual COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University.

Feitosa had been working in the emergency department and treating COVID-19 patients at two hospitals in Rio de Janeiro. Family and friends close to him said that he was in a good health before he got infected by a coronavirus, after which he was enrolled to be a part of the clinical trials. But unfortunately, his health deteriorated.

Since his death was unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine, Oxford University said that the trials would continue as usual. The decision has been backed by an independent review committee.

“Following careful assessment of this case in Brazil, there have been no concerns about the safety of the clinical trial and the independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue,” the university said in a statement.

“We cannot comment on individual cases in an ongoing trial of the Oxford vaccine as we adhere strictly to medical confidentiality and clinical trial regulations, but we can confirm that all required review processes have been followed,” the statement further read.

Oxford and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most anticipated candidates and is expected to be the first one to be approved.

Earlier, Oxford and AstraZeneca had to pause the clinical trials in the U.K. after a volunteer fell sick unexpectedly. However, after thorough investigations, the trials were resumed as the sickness was not due to the COVID-19 vaccine received.

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A worker leaves the AstraZeneca research facility in Loughborough, March 2, 2010. Reuters/Darren Staples

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