Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), said the emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines requires a "great deal of seriousness and reflection," as reported by the National Post.
She added that although every country had the right to approve drugs without completing full trials, "it is not something that you do very lightly."
Swaminathan said the WHO would prefer to have a full set of data which could be used for pre-qualification. The agency would then consider the efficacy and safety of each drug on a case by case basis.
The organization’s remarks come after the head of the FDA said he would be willing to bypass the normal approval process to authorize a coronavirus vaccine as long as the benefits outweigh the risks.
Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program, stressed that a fast-track approach without full trials required intensive monitoring and safety follow-up work, with it being halted immediately if issues occur. “If you move too quickly to vaccinate … millions of people, you may miss certain adverse effects,” he said.
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