The head of Pfizer, one of the drugmakers racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine, told employees he was disappointed that its work was politicized during this week’s presidential debate and tried to reassure U.S. staff that the company won’t bend to pressure to move more quickly.

Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla told the employees Thursday that the company is “moving at the speed of science,” rather than under any political timing, according to a staff letter obtained by The Associated Press.

“The only pressure we feel — and it weighs heavy — are the billions of people, millions of businesses and hundreds of government officials that are depending on us,” Bourla wrote.

Despite top U.S. federal health officials repeatedly stating that a vaccine is unlikely to be available widely until 2021, President Donald Trump has insisted that a vaccine will be ready before Election Day.

During Tuesday’s debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump said he had talked with the companies whose experimental vaccines are furthest along in testing.

“I’ve spoken to Pfizer, I’ve spoken to all of the people that you have to speak to, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and others. They can go faster than that by a lot,” Trump claimed. “It’s become very political.”

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Pfizer has said that it expects to have data from its ongoing late-stage test by October that could show whether the vaccine is safe and effective. In his letter to employees, Bourla wrote that the company hopes to have “a hundred million doses delivered by the end of the year.”

Those doses could not be distributed until the Food and Drug Administration reviews Pfizer’s data and decides whether to issue what’s called an emergency use authorization. That would allow distribution of the vaccine on a limited basis, with initial shots expected to go to medical and other frontline workers, nursing homes and people most at risk of catching or becoming seriously ill from the virus.

Moderna’s chief executive, Stéphane Bancel, told the UK’s Financial Times on Wednesday that Moderna would not be ready to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine candidate before Nov. 25 at the earliest.

Johnson & Johnson just started the late-stage and final patient study of its vaccine last week.

And AstraZeneca, which has a candidate in late-stage trials around the world, has its U.S. study on hold while the FDA reviews a possible safety problem.

Bourla and top executives of eight other companies developing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments pledged in early September not to seek even emergency use authorization, let alone a full approval of their products, until they were proven safe and effective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Giant panda Mei Xiang pregnant and due within days, says US National Zoo

Chief vet declares joyful moment in middle of coronavirus pandemic Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in March with frozen semen from zoo’s male panda, Tian Tian Mei Xiang, the female giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington, is pregnant…

Europeans feeling loss of faith in US

The novel coronavirus pandemic and the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will give Europe the opportunity to redefine itself and its place in the world, according to an economics expert. Polling suggests that Europeans’ trust in the United…

Cincinnati Reds: 2020 coronavirus pandemic-shortened season outlook

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on The Cincinnati Reds are aligned as well as any team to really make a run in the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Reds would only need 60 games…

Space-grown lettuce to give astronauts a more varied diet

Experiencing weightlessness, gazing back at the Earth as a pale blue dot and the adrenaline rush of being propelled into orbit at 20,000mph: life as an astronaut has various unique attractions. The food is not among them, with space travellers…