As the Trump administration pushes for a COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed by November, a group of pharmaceutical companies banded together and signed a safety pledge to ensure they aren’t rushing this process.
The CEOs from Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax; British companies AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline; New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson and Merck; Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. and BioNTech; New York-based Pfizer; and Paris-based Sanofi signed a pledge to continue developing their coronavirus vaccines safely despite the pressure to speed up deployment.
The CEOs signed this pledge with patient safety in mind days after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention sent a letter to governors urging them to speed up the approval process for vaccine distribution centers for use by McKesson Corp. to Nov. 1 (coincidentally, two days before Election Day).
“CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities, and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by Nov. 1, 2020,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in the letter according to the Wall Street Journal.
Despite the pressure, any vaccine candidates must be reviewed and approved by the the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that has been trying to stifle the rush from the presidential administration. Novavax and the eight other biopharmaceutical companies agreed in the pledge to follow all guidelines outlined by the FDA, including conducting high-quality clinical trials that demonstrate the full safety and efficiency of a coronavirus vaccine.
“We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which Covid-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved,” the pledge reads. See it in full here.
Novavax signs this pledge after it was recently awarded $1.6 billion to participate in a U.S. government program to deliver an effective COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. The biotech company also recently released data from the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
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