Vaccine Makers Keep Safety Details Quiet, Alarming Scientists

Washington, Sept 15: While it is not uncommon for drug makers to remain tight-lipped on the details of clinical trials, experts say transparency is crucial in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Study sponsors have a vested interest in protecting their intellectual property and maintaining a competitive advantage, and the three pharma companies currently conducting late-stage studies for a coronavirus vaccine are no exception. The firms have not disclosed the protocols and statistical analysis plans for their trials and, in some cases, have withheld other key information. Independent scientists and members of the public health community agree that being more open fosters trust, especially in the context of the pandemic.

The importance of public confidence is critical, they say, because many people are worried that political motivations could result in a vaccine that has not demonstrated safety and efficacy. Nearly two-thirds of Americans polled recently by the Kaiser Family Foundation expressed this fear, raising concern about low takeup once a vaccine is finally available.

Nine pharmaceutical firms, including vaccine front-runners AstraZeneca and Pfizer, vowed last week to “stand with science” and rigorously vet any COVID-19 vaccine. They stopped short, however, of pledging to share more critical details about their research. (With Agencies)

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