FDA chief refuses to back Trump’s vaccine prediction

FDA chief refuses to back Trump's vaccine prediction
Dr Stephen Hahn said he "can't predict when a vaccine will be ready". Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr Stephen Hahn, has cast doubt on President Donald Trump’s prediction that a Covid-19 vaccine will be ready this year.

“I can’t predict when a vaccine will be available,” Mr Hahn said on Sunday. He said vaccine development would be “based upon the data and science”.

A vaccine would train people’s immune systems to fight the virus, so they do not become infected by it.

The FDA chief is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force. He was asked about the timeframe after President Trump suggested that a “vaccine solution” to the pandemic would be ready “long before the end of the year”.

During his Independence Day address at the White House, President Trump thanked the researchers and scientists who are at the forefront of our historic effort to rapidly develop and deliver life-saving treatments.

“We are unleashing our nation’s scientific brilliance and we’ll likely have a therapeutic and/or vaccine solution long before the end of the year,” the President said.

Mr Trump has been criticised for his comments on treatments during the coronavirus epidemic. The virus has claimed the lives of almost 130,000 people in the US.

Infections have been rising at a record rate in western and southern states in recent days, bringing the total to more than 2.8 million nationwide.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned in June that scientists may never be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus.

He said: “The estimate is we may have a vaccine within one year. If accelerated, it could be even less than that, but by a couple of months. That’s what scientists are saying.”

Some experts have been saying that a drug for the coronavirus would at least take another one year from now.

What did Dr Hahn say about vaccine?

The FDA chief said “we are seeing unprecedented speed for the development of a vaccine”, but did not elaborate on a timeline for its availability.

“Our solemn promise to the American people is that we will make a decision based upon the data and science on a vaccine, with respect to the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine,” he said in an interview with ABC News on Sunday.

Dr Hahn said in another interview with CNN that he would not comment on Mr Trump’s assertion that 99% of Covid-19 infections were “totally harmless”.

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