An oversight board created to scrutinize research that would enhance highly dangerous pathogens did not review a National Institutes of Health grant that funded a lab in Wuhan, China, to genetically modify bat-based coronaviruses.
Experts say the NIH grant describes scientists conducting gain-of-function research, a risky area of study that, in this case, made SARS-like viruses even more contagious. Federal funding for gain-of-function research was temporarily suspended in 2014 due to widespread scientific concerns it risked leaking supercharged viruses into the human population.
The suspension of a huge COVID-19 vaccine study over an illness in a single participant shows there will be “no compromises” on safety in the race to develop the shot, the chief of the National Institutes of Health told Congress on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca has put on hold studies of its vaccine candidate in the U.S. and other countries while it investigates whether a British volunteer’s illness is a side effect or a coincidence.
Millions of coronavirus vaccine doses are being manufactured, even before testing has been completed, the National Institutes of Health director said in an interview recently.
Doses of potential vaccines are being made to shorten the time it traditionally takes to develop a drug for public use, director Dr. Francis Collins told Intelligencer. Collins said he is “guardedly optimistic” that at least one vaccine will pass through the large phase of trials by December.