Trump Weighs Fast-Tracking U.K. Covid Vaccine Before Election: FT

The Trump administration is considering whether to bypass normal U.S. regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the U.K. for use in America ahead of the presidential election, the Financial Times reported, citing three unnamed people briefed on the plan.

One option is to issue an “emergency use authorization” in October to a vaccine being developed byAstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University, based on the results from a relatively small U.K. study if it is successful, the people told the British newspaper.

A spokesman for the U.S. Health and Human Services department, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, told the Financial Times that any claim that an EUA would be issued before the election was “absolutely false.” The administration was hopeful that a vaccine would be developed by the first quarter of 2021, he said.

With Covid-19 infections still widespread in the U.S., President Donald Trump’s political future hinges on his response to the pandemic and his promise to bring forth a vaccine by Election Day on Nov. 3. On Saturday, hetweeted that employees at the FDA are attempting to sabotage his re-election by slowing down coronavirus research.

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There’s no evidence that the scientists and staff of the FDA are delaying treatments or vaccines.

The FT article came shortly beforeBloomberg reported that the president is set to announce that a new treatment involving blood plasma donated by people who’ve recovered from the disease has received an emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators.

Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, and Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, have told top Democrats that the administration was considering fast-tracking a vaccine, the Financial Times reported. A spokesperson for the Treasury secretary said in response that Mnuchin “did not make any comments regarding AstraZeneca” and believes any decision on vaccine candidates is up to the FDA.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told the Financial Times that it had “not discussed emergency use authorization with the U.S. government” and that it “would be premature to speculate on that possibility.” AstraZeneca’s trial of 10,000 participants may be too small to justify just an order, according to the newspaper.

The White House didn’t comment to the Financial Times.

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