Helped along by a whopping $1.2 billion infusion from U.S. taxpayers and $750 million from two Bill-Gates-backed global health organizations, Oxford's assertive grab for frontrunner status has been reinforced by a friendly media, such as CBS's recent statement that the Oxford vaccine "is widely perceived to be one of, if not the strongest contender among the dozens of coronavirus vaccines in various stages of testing" [emphasis added].
Oddly, CBS furnished this ringing endorsement shortly after Oxford and AstraZeneca called a temporary halt to their clinical trials in five countries. The brief hold was prompted by a UK participant's report, after her second dose of vaccine, of a serious adverse event—a demyelinating condition called transverse myelitis (TM) associated with pain, muscle weakness, paralysis and bowel and bladder problems. Two-thirds of those who experience TM remain permanently disabled. Belatedly, AstraZeneca also disclosed that the September pause was actually the second time-out in two months. The first incident, which initially went unpublicized, occurred in July when another UK participant experienced TM after one dose of vaccine and ended up with a brand-new diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). TM is well recognized as sometimes being "the first symptom of an autoimmune or immune-mediated disease such as multiple sclerosis."