A group of nine vaccine developers have announced a “historic commitment” to uphold scientific and ethical standards in the search for a vaccine against the coronavirus.
The companies, including Pfizer and Merck, said they would only seek regulatory approval after the vaccines have passed through three phases of clinical study.
He comes amid global debates about the safety of vaccines being produced this year.
US President Donald Trump has said he wants one available in the US ahead of the November election.
No vaccine has yet completed its clinical trials, leading some scientists to fear that vaccine research is politicized and public trust is compromised.
In their pledge, the nine biopharmaceutical companies did not mention Mr. Trump, but said they believed their action “will ensure public confidence” in the development of any inoculation.
They pledged to “always make the safety and well-being of those vaccinated our top priority”.
The other signatories were industry giants Johnson & Johnson, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Novavax.
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“Together, these nine companies have collectively developed more than 70 new vaccines that have helped eradicate some of the world’s most complex and deadly public health threats,” the statement added.
Nearly 180 vaccine candidates are being tested around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
China and Russia have started inoculating some key workers with vaccines developed in the country.
Meanwhile, the US national regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has suggested that coronavirus vaccines could be approved before completing a third phase of clinical trials.
Last week it also emerged that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had urged states to consider “waiving the requirements” so that they can distribute a vaccine before November 1 – two days before the presidential election. November 3.
President Trump has hinted that a vaccine may be available before the election. But his Democratic rival Joe Biden has expressed skepticism that Mr. Trump will listen to scientists and implement a transparent process.
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The WHO has said it does not expect a vaccine to be approved this year due to the time it takes to test them safely.
“This phase 3 must take longer because you have to see how protective the vaccine really is. You also have to see how safe it is, ”WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said.