Senior US expert Anthony Fauci apologizes for casting doubt on Pfizer vaccine approval in UK

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In a BBC interview, Anthony Fauci said his previous comments were wrong (File)

London: Anthony Fauci, a US infectious disease specialist, apologized on Thursday for questioning the rigor of UK regulators who approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, saying he was confident in the quality of their work.

Britain announced the vaccine’s approval on Wednesday, with the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) saying it had rigorously assessed vaccine data and not cut corners.

It gave the UK the jump in the race to begin mass inoculation against a virus that has killed nearly 1.5 million people worldwide and hammered the global economy. U.S. and European regulators are reviewing the same Pfizer vaccine trial data, but have yet to give approval.

In an interview with CBS on Thursday, Fauci suggested that UK regulators had not looked at the data carefully enough and waved the vaccine – comments that were shown widely on major UK television news channels.

He then gave an interview to the BBC in which he said his previous comments were wrong.

“There really was a misunderstanding, and for that I’m sorry, and I apologize,” he said. “I have great confidence in both the scientific community and the regulatory community in the UK,” said Fauci.

“I didn’t want to apply negligence (to the UK regulatory process), even though it came out that way,” he added.

Fauci said the point he tried to make was that in the American context, with widespread skepticism about vaccines, it would not have been appropriate to conduct the process in the same way and at the same time. same speed as what happened in Great Britain.

“If, for example, we had approved it yesterday or tomorrow, there would probably have been a setback on a company that was already scrutinizing,” he said.

“You know, at the end of the day it’s going to be safe, it’s going to be effective, people in the UK are going to get it and they’re going to do just fine, and people in the US. are going to receive it and we’re going to do pretty well, ”Fauci said.

In response to its earlier criticisms, the MHRA issued a statement saying it had “rigorously assessed the data as soon as possible without compromising the thoroughness of our review.”

The regulator also said that its emergency approval had allowed “certain stages of this process to run in parallel to condense the time needed, but that does not mean that the stages and expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been bypassed ”.

Fauci is the foremost member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and has clashed often with President Donald Trump over how to protect Americans from the virus, which has caused an estimated 273,000 deaths in the United States .

President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that he asked Fauci to be the chief medical adviser to his COVID-19 team when he took office on January 20.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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