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No Link Between Reopening and New Cases: Food and Drug Chief

June 6, 2020, 4:40 PM

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has yet to see a relationship between states reopening and increased cases of Covid-19, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

“I do worry about the protests and the lack of masks,” Hahn said on an HHS podcast, noting daily demonstrations in major cities.

Hahn said the federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed” to develop a vaccine can become a pathway to “expediting medical product development” for other diseases.

“Let’s make this a permanent change at the FDA, if we can, in fact, show that it works, and I’m confident that we can,” he said.

Once a vaccine is approved, the Trump administration is considering if people who are most vulnerable, like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, should be “among the first to get the vaccine,” depending on its safety and effectiveness, Hahn said.

Final Frontier?

Hahn also said President Donald Trump “has his own sense of what time is needed” to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

The term “warp speed” was inspired by the Star Trek franchise. Scientists at the FDA started using the phrase a month before it was officially announced, Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo said.

Hahn said he and Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, are consulting on regulatory needs during the operation. They want to be sure the FDA gets all the information it needs to approve any vaccine, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at sstein@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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