Doctors say CDC, FDA crosses line in wrong politics


Head of the Department of Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Stephen Hahn gave an assurance on Monday: Any vaccine for public use will be approved “based on science and data”.


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He said that we will not take this decision based on politics Interview with “CBS Evening News”. “This is a promise.”

Fann and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Hahn vowed recently to involve two federal agencies critical of the American coronovirus response, which damages their reputation at a time – when they are needed most. According to seven prominent doctors and scientists who spoke to NBC News. He says the recent events are clear signs of political interference by the White House and has shaken his faith and confidence in the leadership of the agencies.

University of Washington biologist Carl Bergstrom said, “This is a huge scandal, which has become a vocal critic of the response to the American pandemic and has written in detail about misleading health information.” What it looks like at this point, Do you have a White House that is changing public health advice to improve election prospects for the decline of American life. ”

In an interview published on Sunday in The Financial Times, Hahn said the FDA could fast-track a coronovirus vaccine by issuing an Emergency Use Authority before the end of Phase 3 clinical trials. Public health experts commented with displeasure, clarifying them CBS Interview That a vaccine will not be politicized.

Earlier, Hahn misrepresented data about convulsive plasma, prompting him to apologize for eliminating potential treatment benefits. The New York Times reported that it also excluded the agency’s chief spokesperson on Fayasco.

Bergstrom said that the CDC exacerbated its crisis when it changed its guidance on COVID-19 testing in a way that ran contrary to the best available scientific evidence. The agency’s updated recommendations posted on its website on August 24 stated that people exposed to coronaviruses “do not necessarily require a test” as long as they do not display symptoms, are old or existing. There are medical requirements that make them particularly vulnerable to viruses.

But it is known that infected people can become contagious before experiencing symptoms and that people can spread the virus even if they remain asymptomatic.

Director of CDC, Drs. Robert Redfield issued a statement saying that “all close contacts of confirmed or potential COVID-19 patients” may consider testing.

Lorraine Lipworth, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said the recent developments are troubling as they carry out the mission of the CDC.

“As epidemiologists, the CDC has always been what we turn to for guidance and for data,” she said.

But dealing with the agency’s epidemic could threaten that legacy. In an opinion for The New York Times, Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health and Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, called the agency “dysfunctional” and argued that the time might have come to ignore the CDC had been changed. guidelines.

“Now – it is up to the states, other institutions and individuals to take action,” he wrote.

Bergstrom said anything that compromises a clear public health message can be very harmful, especially because scientists learn new things about a virus and its effects on humans as an epidemic. About eight months into the worst pandemic in more than a century, research has shown that closing coronoviruses rely on three pillars that work in concert: widespread testing, social disturbances, and wearing masks.

“If you don’t trust the agencies that are asking you to do this, then you don’t have your own important weapons to fight against an epidemic,” he said.

With the fumble of the FDA commissioner, Lipworth said, this is particularly important for the person responsible for overseeing the development of potential coronavirus treatments and vaccines to ensure the information is conveyed correctly.

The situation has only further raised concerns that the agencies have been politicized. The spokesperson who was let go from the FDA was previously a reporter for One America News Network, a veritable media outlet that has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump.

Beyond the obvious dangers of misuse of data about a potential treatment, Lipworth said, it’s still too early to know if convulsive plasma is actually beneficial. While the therapy has been shown to be safe, clinical trials are continuing to test its effectiveness, including at Vanderbilt University.

“The evidence is certainly not conclusive whether Dr. Hahn communicated it correctly,” she said. “But even if it was, we are still not at a point where we can say that there is conclusive evidence of benefits.”

All doctors and public health experts who spoke to NBC News expressed concern that Hain’s misidentification could tarnish the reputation of the FDA. The erosion of trust in the FDA can be particularly problematic, with the agency responsible for the evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of vaccine candidates, Drs. Said Stanley Pearlman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa.

“This is a real concern, especially when we have people who don’t trust the government and don’t want vaccines and barely believe that this virus is causing the problem,” he said.

Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Stanford University, Drs. Steven Goodman said recent events may cause people to question the motives of federal agencies that respond to public health emergencies.

“It undermines the belief that they are without political influence,” he said. “Any statement that the FDA makes that they have to amend or qualify, or any indication that they are lowering their standards, makes future statements more dubious in the public eye.”

When public health has been shaped by politics throughout history, recent events have raised a different kind of red flag, said Dean Carlos Del Rio, executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, the Coronavirus of Modern Is an investigator for. Vaccine Diagnostic Test.

Del Rio said, “Politics has always played a role in public health – think of HIV, but it should not be biased.” “It should never favor one side over the other.”

Misconceptions increase frustration for scientists and public health experts who are already working in a politically charged environmental crisis with misinformation.

“I am worried at first, but it increases anger,” said Goodman.

An Associate Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Drs. David Dowdy called the recent incidents a “tremendous blow” to the credibility of the CDC and FDA. He said he hoped the damage was not permanent.

He said, “I hope this is not something that will stain them even more when we have a political situation where science is no longer a political issue.”

Video: New CDC guidance on coronavirus testing causing confusion and controversy (TODAY)

New CDC guidance on coronovirus testing is causing confusion and controversy

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