In order to put out a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the November election, President Donald Trump may consider fast-tracking Oxford University’s vaccine, the Daily Mail reports.
According to sources familiar with the vaccine and Trump’s views of it, the president may consider pushing for emergency use approval of the vaccine candidate.
The Daily Mail reports that the vaccine has already been ordered by the UK and Australian governments. Clinical trials are underway, but they haven’t proven if the vaccine is effective yet. The outlet reports that early trials have shown promising results. The vaccine is being mass-produced by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
The firm says it can manufacture 2 billion doses of the vaccine, according to the Daily Mail. The company denies it discussed any plans to fast-track the product with the White House. But records show the U.S. ordered 300 million doses of the vaccine last month.
“AstraZeneca has not discussed emergency use authorization with the U.S. government and it would be premature to speculate on that possibility,” a statement from the firm reads. “Late stage Phase II/III trials for AZD1222 are ongoing in the U.K. and other markets globally, and we do not anticipate efficacy results until later this year.”
News of Trump eyeing this vaccine for fast-tracking comes as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed off on using blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as an emergency treatment. Trump praised the treatment, which claims it can reduce the risk of death by a third.
Sources familiar with the Oxford University vaccine told the Financial Times that Trump is likely pushing for the FDA to approve an emergency use authorization for the vaccine.
Emergency use authorization allows officials to use medical products without proper testing because there is a clear immediate need for them.
If the vaccine is given the OK for emergency use authorization, that means it could be available after trials are conducted on 10,000 people, while the FDA standard calls for at least 30,000 people, according to the outlet.
Large-scale trials are already underway in other countries, but according to the Financial Times, results aren’t expected for several months.
The outlet reports that approval for the vaccine in the U.S. could come as early as September.
But some White House officials say that isn’t the case.
Assistant secretary for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department Michael Caputo told the Financial Times there aren’t any plans to award emergency use authorization to the Oxford vaccine.
“Irresponsible talk of an unsafe or ineffective vaccine being approved for public use is designed to undermine the president’s coronavirus response,” he said.
Trump has accused the FDA of delaying the process of getting a vaccine available.
“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
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