Pandemic Perspectives: How COVID Emergency Use Authorizations Could Reshape US FDA
From re-examining the FDA’s place in the broader US government to how fast and flexible it can be clearing therapies in non-emergency times, the COVID-19 EUA experience is expected to have a long-lasting impact on the agency.
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FDA policy experts Jesse Goodman, Mark McClellan, Peter Lurie, David Bowen, Patti Zettler, and Aaron Kesselheim suggest ideas and points to consider in using the COVID-19 experience to assess whether standards for EUAs should be adjusted.
Since the WHO’s pandemic declaration, the agency has granted 10 EUAs for therapeutics and three for vaccines, all of which were reviewed in less than 90 days; EUA requests from government entities boast two of the three fastest review times but were revoked or limited in the face of emerging evidence.
US FDA considering approach that is similar to, but more stringent than, influenza strain changes, CBER Director Marks says. Meanwhile, vaccine developers face challenge of when to change antigens to get the best results, NIH’s Graham notes. As FDA and sponsors gain more experience with tweaking the vaccines to account for new coronavirus variants and strains, the process may be expedited further.