World

Trump’s pressure on US health officials

(Washington) Two major U.S. health care institutions are accused of bowing their backs under pressure from the White House in the presidential election, according to experts who fear Donald Trump might force a vaccine to be approved in front of Congress.

Posted on Sep 15, 2020 at 11:56 am

Ivan COURONNE and Issam AHMED
France Media Agency

For months, incidents have been on the rise within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the frontline federal agency responding to the COVID pandemic. 19, two organizations that Donald Trump’s lieutenants see as breeding grounds for opposition to the president’s desire to revive the economy.

High-ranking CDC scientists, who regularly briefed the press, were silenced after the coronavirus alarm. The CDC guidelines were changed this summer, apparently under pressure from the White House, to stop recommending testing asymptomatic people and to encourage schools to reopen, as Donald Trump called for.

Then, through leaks in Politico, we learned that the Department of Health’s communications director, Michael Caputo, and one of his advisors had been demanding for months that scientific studies censor the weekly ones in the venerable CDC bulletin, the public health official’s bible Reports of morbidity and mortality (MMWR), for example a study of the infection of children.

“It is unprecedented that political power in the United States is interfering with the scientific functioning of these agencies,” said AFP William Schaffner, member of the editorial board of the MMWR and professor at Vanderbilt University.

But Michael Caputo, who is close to Donald Trump, assumes that, according to the New York Times, he accused the CDC of “rioting” on his Facebook account and its experts of “attacking Donald Trump”.

“Culture of fear”

The FDA has traditionally been the most influential health agency in the world, but has lost credibility after two massive political compromise cases, Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told AFP.

He is very critical of the worst for the most important decision of the pandemic in the coming months: the possible approval of a first vaccine against COVID-19.

In March, the FDA approved more extensive use of hydroxychloroquine, an old antimalarial drug promoted by Donald Trump, despite no evidence of its effectiveness against COVID-19. The permit was revoked in June.

Then, at the end of August, at Donald Trump’s insistent request, the FDA urgently approved transfusions of blood plasma from people obtained from COVID-19. Your guide advocates treatment that “can save lives” – an exaggerated claim and that “he then withdrew.”

“The FDA will decide on the approval or approval of vaccines against COVID-19 based on scientific evidence and data,” promised Stephen Hahn, head of the FDA, who is now increasing the number of speeches to ensure that each vaccine goes through the usual independent expert committees.

Because of the natural course of clinical trials, the results are unlikely to be known before election, and the laboratories affecting their reputation have no interest in distributing an ineffective vaccine.

But the experts remain suspicious, especially because Donald Trump reiterates that a vaccine was declared reliable before the November 3rd election and because Pfizer’s boss claims to wait for test results before the end of October.

“Unfortunately, I fear a campaign of pressure to get a vaccine approved,” said Harvard’s Michael Mina.

The two agencies “are enslaved in the White House,” summarizes Eric Topol. “A culture of fear has arrived. “”

“If these people had principles, they would resign because they are being manipulated or censored and are de facto accomplices,” he concludes. According to the New York Times, experts at the CDC are actually considering resigning.

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