Powerful and Stealthy “Safety Panels” Select the COVID-19 Vaccine Winners

Powerful and Stealthy “Safety Panels” Select the COVID-19 Vaccine Winners

A small, stealthy panel of experts wields tremendous clout when it comes to selecting which COVID-19 vaccines Americans will ultimately have access to. Part of a working group called the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) will help determine which vaccines are ultimately approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of their prominent participants, Dr. Richard Whitley, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, serves on Gilead’s board (maker of remdesivir). While most Americans don’t know Dr. Whitley, he is one of the most influential people in the nation today. TrialSite suggests that a recent piece by Kaiser Health News should be read by those interested in how these vaccines will ultimately get approved. It turns out that the world of drug development can be small, with many overlapping and interlocking ties, interests, and relationships.

DSMB Reviews Clinical-Trial Data

As major pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms drive clinical trials toward the end of Phase 3 clinical trials—often with the help of billions in tax-payer money as part of ‘Operation Warp Speed—firms such as Moderna (mRNA-1273), AstraZene...

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