Shares of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) tumbled over 8% in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the drugmaker paused clinical trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, with a participant in a U.K. study experiencing an unexplained illness.

However, the stock has since pared losses to 1% as British health minister Matt Hancock explained that the procedure is “not necessarily” a setback and it “depends on what they find when they do the investigation.”

“Temporary pauses in dosing of subjects is standard clinical trial practice and given the expedited path into Phase III (trials) for AZN/Oxford Uni Covid-19 vaccine AZD1222, we believe it is not surprising a serious adverse event triggered a study halt to investigate if drug-related,” analysts from Jefferies added in a research note, saying they “envisage a short-term stock correction which may prove misplaced.”

AstraZeneca confirmed that the pause “is a routine action” and it was trying to expedite the review to “minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline.”


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