Fauci warns against rushing approval of COVID-19 vaccine following report that Trump administration wants to do just that

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, in an interview with Reuters, warned against fast-tracking the approval of any COVID-19 vaccine that had not completed clinical trials.
  • “The one thing you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting an EUA before you have a signal of efficacy,” Fauci said, referring to emergency use authorization.
  • The comment came a day after the US Food and Drug Administration issued the emergency authorization for plasma therapy, following pressure from the White House.
  • “One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enroll people in their trial,” Fauci said.
  • “To me, it’s absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both,” Fauci continued. “We would hope that nothing interferes with the full demonstration that a vaccine is safe and effective.”
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The US government’s top infectious-disease expert is warning against the fast-tracked approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying that introducing a vaccine “prematurely” could actually set back efforts to immunize the population against the novel coronavirus.

In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the “one thing you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting an EUA before you have a signal of efficacy.”

Fauci was referring to emergency use authorization, which allows a treatment to be used even without full approval from health regulators. His warning came a day after the Food and Drug Administration issued such authorization for COVID-19 plasma therapy under political pressure from the White House, with President Donald Trump attacking health officials by using the lack of an approved vaccine as evidence the “deep state” was trying to undermine him.

The Financial Times reported Monday that the Trump administration was considering “bypassing normal US regulatory standards” and issuing emergency authorization ahead of the 2020 election for a vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. That vaccine has yet to complete large-scale clinical trials.

Such a move would mirror efforts by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who announced the approval in Russia of a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of testing on fewer than 100 people.

A Trump administration representative denied the Financial Times report.

Speaking with Reuters, Fauci urged caution.

“One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enroll people in their trial,” he said.

Public-health experts have warned that an ineffective – or dangerous – vaccine, released before it has been fully vetted, could enflame the anti-vaccination movement and prolong the spread of the coronavirus.

“To me, it’s absolutely paramount that you definitively show that a vaccine is safe and effective, both,” Fauci said. “We would hope that nothing interferes with the full demonstration that a vaccine is safe and effective.”

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