The Trump administration is eying a possible fast-track for a British experimental coronavirus vaccine ahead of the November presidential election, despite lacking enough evidence to conclude that the vaccine is safe and effective, according to a Financial Times report. The vaccine, which is being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, currently has enrolled 10,000 people in its next study. That is 20,000 fewer than the Food and Drug Administration typically requires as a minimum threshold to green-light a vaccine in advanced testing. While the vaccine developers do plan on conducting a larger trial as well, the results will come later than the results of the smaller study, and the Trump administration has reportedly discussed issuing an emergency use authorization for the vaccine in October.
Michael Caputo, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes the FDA, pushed back on the report, calling “Talk of an October surprise” a “lurid resistance fantasy.” He also insisted federal plans remained focused on a vaccine candidate being released early next year.