Nine pharmaceutical/biotech companies have pledged to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
The CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Inc., Novavax, Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Sanofi jointly announced the historic pledge on Tuesday, September 8. The pledge came after concerns were expressed by medical professionals when President Donald Trump said he expected a vaccine to be available before the November 3rd election. A number of different possible vaccines are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, meaning thousands of people are receiving the possible vaccines in an effort to confirm their safety plus their efficacy against the novel coronavirus. Medical professionals feared that safety could be compromised in a rush to meet a certain deadline.
The companies are using a variety of different techniques and materials to try to find vaccines to fight COVID-19.
Even as the CEOs signed the pledge, one of the Phase 3 clinical trials has been halted, at least temporarily. AstraZeneca has announced that their large Phase 3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed jointly with the University of Oxford at dozens of sites across the U.S. has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom. It’s not known if the neurological issues that have arisen are coincidental or whether they are related to the vaccine trial, but the standard process in such a situation is to halt the trial until more is known. The CEO of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, said an independent committee is reviewing the situation.