According to three sources familiar with Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine project, the company has squabbled with government scientists over the trial process, delayed delivering trial protocols and resisted experts’ advice on how to run the study, as reported Yahoo!News on Tuesday.
The sources said those tensions have contributed to a delay of more than two weeks in launching the large-scale trial of Moderna’s vaccine candidate, now expected in late July, adding that the National Institutes of Health had hoped to launch the trial by July 10.
While Moderna denied any missteps on its part, the company acknowledged "differences of opinion" with experts involved in the effort to deliver on the US government's pledge to find a vaccine within months.
"It has not been smooth or easy," said Moderna spokesman Ray Jordan, adding that "no one has ever done anything like this before - not Moderna, not the NIH, and not any of the other companies."
The company attributed the delay to the need to accommodate last-minute compromises with the NIH, while allowing the government to coordinate trials with multiple drugmakers, with Jordan calling its interactions with government experts a healthy scientific debate.
The US Health and Human Services Department said the government's collaboration with Moderna, as with all organisations in the project, has been "extremely cooperative."
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