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White House nixes tougher FDA guidelines on coronavirus vaccine approval

The White House has blocked new FDA guidelines on bringing potential vaccines for Covid-19 to market that would almost certainly have prevented their approval before the Nov 3 election

Topics
Coronavirus | White House | USFDA

AP  |  Washington 

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

The has blocked new Food and Drug Administration guidelines on bringing potential vaccines for COVID-19 to market that would almost certainly have prevented their approval before the Nov 3 election.

At issue was the FDA's planned requirement that participants in the ongoing mass clinical trials for nearly a half-dozen vaccine candidates be followed for two months to ensure there are no side effects and that the vaccines provide lasting protection from the virus in order to receive emergency approval.

A senior administration confirmed the move Monday evening, saying the believed there was no clinical or medical reason to add additional screening protocols.

The action was first reported by The New York Times.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has pledged that career scientists, not politicians, will decide whether any vaccine meets clearly stated standards that it works and is safe. Vaccine development usually takes years, but scientists have been racing to shorten that time.

Science will guide our decisions. FDA will not permit any pressure from anyone to change that, Hahn said recently.

I will put the interest of the American people above anything else.

The FDA has faced criticism for allowing emergency use of some COVID-19 treatments backed by little evidence, but Hahn has said if vaccine makers want that faster path to market, they would face additional standards. Vaccines, unlike therapies, are given to healthy people and thus usually require more proof.

But President Donald Trump made clear last month that he was skeptical of any regulatory changes that might delay a vaccine's authorization, even if those changes are aimed at increasing public trust. Asked about the FDA considering stricter guidelines for emergency approval, Trump suggested the effort was politically motivated.

I think that was a political move more than anything else, he said then, arguing that that the companies testing the vaccines, such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, are capable of determining whether they work.

I have tremendous trust in these massive companies, he said. The senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the action, said the White House was intent on getting a safe vaccine to market and wanted to make sure additional loopholes weren't added that would slow down the process.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, October 06 2020. 08:15 IST
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