Donald Trump pushed a baseless conspiracy theory that the “deep state” is delaying a coronavirus vaccine until after the election in an early morning Twitter rant on Saturday.
“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” he wrote.
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“Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
The head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr Stephen Hahn, was nominated by Mr Trump for the role in 2019.
Human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine are currently ongoing around the world. But there are still many aspects which scientists don’t fully understand the virus, which has killed some 800,000 people worldwide.
Mr Trump followed up on his tweet with another referencing the FDA’s decision to revoke emergency authorisation of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treating Covid-19, citing evidence that it is “unlikely to be effective” in treating the coronavirus.
“Many doctors and studies disagree with this!” he said, without providing any evidence.
Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease doctor and member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, said he expects a safe vaccine to be ready around the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
Mr Trump claimed earlier in August that a vaccine would possibly be ready by the US presidential election, or “right around that time.”
This week Dr Fauci cautioned against rushing the process, following Russian claims they have already produced a safe vaccine.
“We have to be careful when you hear from Russia or China or anyplace else that they have a vaccine that they know works. They may have a product that they’re willing to take the risk to give it to people without necessarily showing yet that it’s effective or that it’s safe,” Dr Fauci said.
The Trump administration has pre-ordered hundreds of millions of doses from companies developing vaccines, which be distributed for free.
The death toll from the coronavirus in the US passed 173,000 this week, while total cases passed 5.5 million.
While cases have trended downward nationwide in recent weeks, fatalities have not. Most of the deaths are occurring in Arizona, Florida, California and Texas.