Nine drug companies signed a pledge on Tuesday saying that safety is their highest priority in creating a COVID-19 vaccine.
The CEO’s of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline pic, Johnson & Johnson, Merck (or MSD), Moderna Inc., Novavax Inc, Pfizer Inc., and Sanofi, signed the pledge, promising to uphold their standards regarding vaccine testing and saying they will put the safety of the patients receiving their vaccines as a top priority.
“We have undersigned biopharmaceutical companies, want to make clear our on-going commitment to developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles,” the statement read, which was posted on each of the nine companies’ websites.
They added that they will not be seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until the vaccine developed has been shown to be safe and effective through a clinical trial.
Furthermore, the pledge also outlined the approval requirement, stating, “the agency requires that scientific evidence for regulatory approval must come from large, high-quality clinical trials that are randomized and observer-blinded, with an expectation of appropriately designed studies with significant numbers of participants across diverse populations.”
Three of nine companies that signed the pledge, Moderna, AstraZeneca, as well as a joint effort between Pfzer and BioNTech, have developed vaccines for COVID-19 that currently have their developed vaccines in late-stage clinical trials.
This comes as FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said vaccines could be authorized for emergency usage before phase three trials are completed.
Hahn stated that depending on how well clinical trials are going, as long as the benefits outweighed the risks, the vaccine could be in line to receive approval from the FDA to use for emergency cases.
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has also previously said that if data from vaccine during clinical trials have been shown to be both safe and effective at targeting COVID-19, then researchers should be obligated to distribute the vaccine to widely to other COVID-19 patients.
Both have denied having been pressured politically to rush the release of a vaccine.
Melanie Sun contributed to this report