Warp Speed May Be Usurping BARDA, Potentially Hurting COVID-19 Vaccine Prospects
Congress wants HHS to explain why BARDA scientists were removed from leadership positions on COVID-19 vaccine contracts. It is just one of multiple examples of Democrats raising concerns that Operation Warp Speed could be hurting, not helping the COVID-19 response effort.
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BARDA’s suspension of funding for COVID-19 therapeutics risks repeating mistakes of past pandemics as it may cause industry to pull out of the development space, experts say. Industry sources are concerned the Biden administration is focusing on funding NIH at the expense of BARDA.
Novavax has progressed into Phase I trials with relatively little funding, but backing from Operation Warp Speed makes it a stronger contender.
Recruiting the right patient population for Phase III trials of COVID-19 vaccines will be a key factor in how fast any candidate can come to market. The challenge, which will likely mean enrolling patients who often are underrepresented in trials, is keeping Moderna's Chief Medical Officer up at night. The company also talked vaccine distribution, what it feels it owes the US government for its financial support, and pricing of its potential mRNA vaccine on a recent New York Academy of Sciences webinar.