President Donald Trump wants to speed up authorization for an experimental coronavirus vaccine ahead of the presidential election, The Financial Times reports.
Trump wants the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization for a vaccine being developed in the United Kingdom by Oxford University and AstraZeneca in the weeks before the election, even if it does not have full regulatory approval, according to the report.
The vaccine is currently set to start clinical trials on 10,000 volunteers in the coming weeks.
US health officials have said that vaccines must be tested on 30,000 volunteers to get authorization.
Reps for Treasury, Health Dept. deny claim:
Two top advisers, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, reportedly told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the administration would seek emergency use authorization before the election, and possibly as soon as September.
A Treasury spokesperson denied that Mnuchin made the comments and said he "is also not aware of any plans the FDA may have regarding any emergency use authorization for any potential vaccine, beyond what he has heard publicly stated."
A spokesman for the Health Department said the idea that the FDA would grant authorization before approval “absolutely false.”
"Irresponsible talk of an unsafe or ineffective vaccine being approved for public use is designed to undermine the president's coronavirus response,” said spokesman Michael Caputo.
Trump pressures FDA to approve plasma treatment:
The report comes as Trump on Sunday announced that the FDA would authorize the use of convalescent plasma from recovered patients to treat the infected against the advice of health officials.
The authorization came after Trump accused the “deep state” at the FDA of slowing the development of treatments and vaccines ahead of the election.
“This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with life and death,” Trump claimed on Sunday.