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Scientists Call Political Interference in Experts' Virus Response 'Alarming'

Scientists Call Political Interference in Experts' Virus Response 'Alarming'
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 24 September 2020 02:15 PM

Two groups of scientists that work closely with the government raised concerns about political interference taking place when it comes to public health experts' work on the government’s coronavirus response.

Politico reports that a Thursday statement made by the leaders of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine suggests that the interference is undermining the credibility of public health agencies and shaking the public’s confidence in their ability to respond to the pandemic.

"We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming," wrote NAS President Marcia McNutt and NAM President Victor Dzau. "It undermines the credibility of public health agencies and the public’s confidence in them when we need it most."

The statement from the nongovernmental groups that advise the government was issued a day after President Donald Trump said he would consider rejecting a Food and Drug Administration proposal that would increase the standards for emergency use of any coronavirus vaccine.

During a Wednesday press briefing, the president called the FDA’s proposal "a political move more than anything else.”

The stricter rules reportedly include a requirement for a two-month follow up with patients who received the vaccine and a certain number of critically ill patients in the placebo arm of trials, according to Politico. 

Trump has been promising that a vaccine will be ready soon. 

The experts from the academies say the supposed political interference is taking place during a “critical time” in the pandemic.

"Our nation is at a critical time in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic with important decisions ahead of us, especially concerning the efficacy and safety of vaccines. Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated," they wrote.

The two academies are currently assessing how the U.S. should fairly distribute a coronavirus vaccine for federal health officials. According to Politico, they put together an expert panel to consider how to prioritize vaccinations as well as health disparities, high-risk groups, and potential viral hot spots.

"Ending the pandemic will require decision-making that is not only based on science but also sufficiently transparent to ensure public trust in, and adherence to, sound public-health instructions. Any efforts to discredit the best science and scientists threaten the health and welfare of us all," McNutt and Dzau wrote.

Politico recently reported that Trump administration appointees working at the Department of Health and Human Services had interfered with weekly scientific reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Two groups of scientists that work closely with the government raised concerns about political interference taking place when it comes to public health experts work on the government's coronavirus response. Politico reports that a Thursday statement made by the leaders of...
coronavirus, scientists, politicalinterference
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2020-15-24
Thursday, 24 September 2020 02:15 PM
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