US president Donald Trump on Saturday accused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of trying to delay human trials of vaccine candidates against the coronavirus disease until after November 3, the day the United States goes to polls.
“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. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives! @SteveFDA,” he wrote on Twitter tagging FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn.
Trump, however, did not share any evidence of the claim he made. The comment apparently came after a Reuters report on Thursday that quoted a top FDA official saying he would resign if the Trump administration approved a vaccine before it was shown to be safe and effective.
Trump’s “dangerous statement” drew a sharp response from US House speaker Nancy Pelosi who said the president’s attempt to influence the decisions of the FDA can jeopardise the health and well-being of all Americans.
Pelosi said the drug regulatory body must not give in to the political pressure and approve drugs or vaccines based on their safety and effectiveness.
“The FDA must approve drugs or vaccines based on their safety and effectiveness – NOT political pressure from the White House. The President’s dangerous attempt to inject himself into the scientific decisions of @US_FDA jeopardizes the health & well-being of all Americans,” she tweeted.
Scientists, public health officials and lawmakers have expressed concern over Trump’s push for early clearance of a vaccine by the FDA in a bid to get an edge in the upcoming US polls.
Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said last week he would resign if the agency rubber-stamped an unproven vaccine.
The US has reported 5,666,673 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease while the toll due to the infection stands at 176,345, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.