The sprint to find medical breakthroughs to contain COVID-19 stumbled this week, as a pair of pharmaceutical giants working to develop treatments and vaccines suffered setbacks in the clinic.
On Tuesday, Eli Lilly & Co. said that enrollment in a government-sponsored clinical trial of its antibody therapy had been paused out of safety concerns. That came less than 24 hours after Johnson & Johnson said research on its experimental vaccine was paused after a study volunteer fell ill.
The developments are likely to heighten worry that the pursuit of products to prevent and treat infections is moving too quickly. Regulators and drugmakers have faced questions about whether political pressure was overwhelming scientific rigor ahead of the presidential election on Nov. 3. Last week, President Donald Trump, trailing in the polls, touted antibody treatments as a cure, and his administration has pushed hard for the rapid approval of the treatments and a vaccine.