Scott Gottlieb, who served for a time as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under President Donald Trump, is confident that the United States will have a coronavirus vaccine sooner than China. Moreover, the former FDA head opined that the U.S. will ultimately have a vaccine that proves more effective in staving off the COVID-19 infection.
Gottlieb revealed his opinion on how the race for a vaccine is progressing during an appearance on CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday.
When asked by host and moderator Margaret Brennan about U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien's assertion that the U.S. will have a viable vaccine before China and "share it with the world," Dr. Gottlieb indicated that he agreed with that assessment and cited data that was shared recently by the peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet.
"The Chinese have four vaccines in clinical development right now. One is based on a novel platform, an adenoviral vector platform. The data came out last week in 'The Lancet' on that. It didn't look overwhelmingly strong. It was positive. It provided some immunity. It's probably going to work. They have three other vaccines in development based on old technology, inactivated virus. Those vaccines, if they do work, probably are going to provide lower levels of immunity than the platforms that the U.S. and Europeans are working with."Gottlieb continued:
"I think we're going to have a better vaccine, and I think we're probably going to have it sooner based on where we are in clinical development; some of the early progress that we've shown."Statements by Gottlieb and O'Brien regarding America's progress on a vaccine come in the wake of the Trump administration's recent criticism of China's overall handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. For his part, O'Brien has likened the Chinese response to the outbreak to the former Soviet Union's handling of the Chernobyl disaster in the 1980s, referring to it as a "cover-up" during an appearance on NBC News' Meet the Press. As reported by Politico, Trump told reporters on Monday that he was unhappy with China and espoused his belief that the spread of the novel coronavirus could have and should have been stopped at the source. He has also referred to the virus as the "Chinese virus" in the past. Those sentiments stand in stark contrast to the president's early praising of China's pandemic response.
In any event, Gottlieb, who was a member of Trump's White House transition team before his two-year stint as the FDA head, has seemingly taken an opposing stance to the president with regard to the reopening of commerce and public spaces in the U.S. As reported previously by The Inquisitr, Gottlieb has opined that reopening could potentially result in a "new epidemic" in the fall, a view which is shared by some medical experts.
Gottlieb spoke again about the risks involved with reopening during his Face the Nation appearance, maintaining that steps must be taken to do so safely.