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Single-dose vaccine tested as US experts say no corners cut

JacksinPA

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A huge international study of a COVID-19 vaccine that aims to work with just one dose is getting underway as top U.S. health officials sought Wednesday to assure a skeptical Congress and public that they can trust any shots the government ultimately approves.

Hopes are high that answers about at least one of several candidates being tested in the U.S. could come by year’s end, maybe sooner.

“We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, told a Senate committee.

But President Donald Trump is pushing for a faster timeline than many experts say is adequate to fully test the candidates. On Wednesday he tweeted a link to news about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine study and said the Food and Drug Administration “must move quickly!”

“President Trump is still trying to sabotage the work of our scientists and public health experts for his own political ends,” Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said before ticking off examples of pressure on the FDA.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn pledged that career scientists, not politicians, will decide whether any coronavirus vaccine meets clearly stated standards that it works and is safe.

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“Science will guide our decisions. FDA will not permit any pressure from anyone to change that,” Hahn said. “I will put the interest of the American people above anything else.”

As for the testing of vaccine candidates, Fauci added: “There is no cutting corners.”
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Janssen, the company name on the vaccine bottle labels, is the Belgian subsidiary of J&J.

Other vaccines in development require two vaccinations in order to establish adequate immunity. The single shot approach therefore has a big advantage.
 
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