(ConservativePeak.com)- Drugmakers across the globe are rushing to produce the first COVID-19 vaccine that is proven effective and safe for human use.
There has been a lot of talk recently about different countries including the United States pushing through vaccine approval before final clinical trials are completed. But, a group of drugmakers wrote a letter pledging they will avoid any shortcuts in the process as it relates to the science of the vaccine development.
The public letter says the companies involved will only submit their vaccines for medical clearance once they’ve shown to be both safe and effective after large clinical studies. Nine of the leading drug companies who are working on COVID-19 vaccines signed the letter.
They include Pfizer Inc., Novavax Inc., Moderna Inc., Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, BioNTech SE, Sanofi, and AstraZeneca Plc.
The letter reads:
“In the interest of public health, we pledge to always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority. We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved.”
The companies aimed to quell public concerns about the vaccine, and counter the narrative that they are facing political pressure to get their vaccines approved quickly. These companies are already condensing the timeline of the vaccine development. What normally takes years to complete is on a timeline of less than a year.
If a vaccine is to be successful in protecting people, the public must have confidence in it. It won’t work at eradicating COVID-19, for example, if a majority of people decide not to get the vaccine because they are worried about the safety of the drug.
This fear has been heightened recently by the fact that both Russia and China have begun using experimental versions of a COVID-19 vaccine before human testing in clinical trials was complete.
Two Chinese drug companies, CanSino Biologics Inc. and Sinovac Biotech Ltd., were not signers of the pledge letter.
In their letter, the drug companies said they’d meet all expectations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This includes making sure their clinical trials include a lot of people, and people from diverse backgrounds and populations.
Recently, Moderna decided to slow enrollment for its next clinical trial about a week. This was done so that the company could try to recruit more participants from minority communities who would be considered high risk.
Last week, the CEO of Merck, Ken Frazier, said if an emergency-use authorization were to be made for any vaccine, then the data that forms the basis of that decision should be revealed to the public.
“The scientific community can actually pore through that data and assure the public that it has been looked at objectively.”
While this week’s pledge letter is certainly considered out of the ordinary, to say the least, the drug companies and scientific community want to assure the public that they are sticking by their intended purpose. They want to see a safe and effective vaccine developed and deployed, even if it takes longer than most people would like.