The Donald Trump administration is considering speeding up the availability of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine from the UK ahead of the presidential polls in November, the Financial Times reported. The vaccine candidate the Trump administration is targeting for fast-tracking is being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.
One route that is being explored is the possibility of an "emergency use authorization" of the vaccine by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on positive results from a relatively small UK study, said the report on Sunday which cited people familiar with the plan.
Criticism Over Trump's Handling of Pandemic
The study involves 10,000 volunteers, whereas the scientific agencies in the US government advocate a vaccine to be tested in 30,000 people to clear the authorization threshold, said the Financial Times report.
The development comes at a time when Trump is facing criticism for his handling of the pandemic which has led to the deaths of over 170,000 Americans so far. In a tweet, the US President criticized the FDA for its approach to giving drug makers the approvals for testing vaccines and medicines.
Accuses FDA of Creating Hurdles for Drug Companies
"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," Trump said in a tweet that tagged FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
"Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!" Clinical development of the vaccine AZD1222 is progressing globally with late-stage Phase II/III trials, AstraZeneca said in a statement on August 14, adding that results from the late-stage trials are anticipated later this year, depending on the rate of infection within the clinical trial communities.