With the U.S. elections coming up and after facing a tremendous amount of criticism for his COVID-19 response, the Trump administration is reported to be fast-tracking a vaccine to justify earlier failure to control the virus. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the virus has infected over 5.6million U.S. citizens, and the death toll has surpassed 175, 000.
Financial Times cited three people who have been briefed on the plan, with one particular option involving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration awarding an emergency use authorization for the said vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
However, the company has denied all such allegations, stating that rumors revolving around the use of an emergency authorization for the vaccine’s application before the elections are “absolutely false.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine candidate was licensed from the University of Oxford and, as of the end of July, is on large-scale clinical studies. The company has reported having useful data so far, with the vaccine entering its final trial in Brazil, and studies ongoing in both the U.K. and South Africa.
In its Phase I / II COV001 trial conducted in the U.K., the participants were able to tolerate its effects and generated promising immune responses, as reported in The Lancet journal. The study has shown that a single vaccine dose increases by up to four-fold production of the antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 spiked protein in 95% of trial participants. It was after they were evaluated a month following vaccination.
On Sunday, it has been reported that the Trump administration has granted a similar emergency authorization, but for that of convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins have expressed their disagreement over the decision, prompting its implementation to be halted.
Despite clinical trials not proving that plasma helps patients battle the coronavirus, the President has stated that it cuts mortality by 35%. He reacted angrily to the emergency authorization holding, accusing the FDA’s move to be politically motivated.
Joe Biden has earlier bashed Trump’s response to the pandemic in a convention speech delivered on Thursday, stating that it was the “worst performance of any nation on Earth.” Lawmakers and scientists have also expressed their criticism over his pressuring to release a COVID-19 vaccine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier tweeted that the FDA should approve drugs and vaccines based on their safety and effectiveness and not on political pressure from the White House.