Washington – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine could be prematurely stopped if they produce positive results showing it is safe and effective.
In an interview with Kaiser Health News published on Tuesday, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said that a data and safety monitoring committee made up of research experts reviewing clinical trial data is empowered to do so The attempts end early.
The independent board, Fauci said, could decide, “The data is so good right now that it can be said to be safe and effective.”
“When making a decision about the vaccine you should be sure that you have very good evidence that it is both safe and effective,” said Fauci. He added that he “is not concerned about political pressure”.
The Trump administration has set a goal of delivering 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January through its Operation Warp Speed initiative. Phase 3 vaccine studies are currently ongoing on three out of six vaccine candidates supported by the project.
While President Trump has touted the government’s work in support of the development of a coronavirus vaccine and other therapeutics, there have been growing concerns that some of the country’s public health officials overseeing the coronavirus response are facing increased political pressure from the White House .
Last month, in a radio interview, Mr Trump suggested that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready before November 3, election day. He has also claimed without evidence that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is running slow tests of vaccines and therapeutics to compromise his reelection prospects.
The revelation by FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, in a recent interview with the Financial Times, said he would be open to approving a vaccine before Phase 3 trials are completed.
But Fauci said any data used to make vaccine decisions will be made public, which increases public confidence.
“The only time you worry is the pressure to stop the study before you have enough data on safety and effectiveness,” he said.