'Speed didn't compromise safety': Anthony Fauci on Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines
- The speed at which the vaccines were developed "was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances," Fauci said
- He also addressed concerns that the vaccine announcements may have been politically driven
- Moderna and Pfizer said this week their COVID-19 vaccines are about 95% effective
USA's top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci has spoken positively regarding the two COVID-19 vaccines, one developed by US pharmaceutical firm Moderna and the other developed by another US firm Pfizer, in collaboration with Germany's BioNTech. "The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety nor did it compromise scientific integrity," Fauci said on Thursday at a rare briefing from the White House virus task force, AFP reported.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared to pacify public concern over the two vaccines after both companies announced successful trials.
Although it often takes years to develop a vaccine, researchers are racing against time to develop one against the novel coronavirus that has globally infected over 56.8 million people and killed over 1.35 million of them, as per Johns Hopkins University's tally.
The speed at which the two vaccines were developed "was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of vaccines which allowed us to do things in months that actually took years before," Fauci said on Thursday.
He also addressed concerns that the vaccine announcements may have been politically driven.
"It was actually an independent body of people who have no allegiance to anyone -- not to the administration, not to me, not to the companies -- that looked at the data and deemed it to be sound," he said.
Next, the data will be carefully examined by the Food and Drug Administration, he said. BioNTech has said it will apply to the FDA for emergency use authorization by Friday.
"So we need to put to rest any concept that this was rushed in an inappropriate way. This is really solid," Fauci continued.
With their announcement this week, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech have taken a lead in the global chase for a vaccine.