The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee unanimously (one member abstained) voted to grant Emergency Use Authorization to Novavax (the Sponsor) for emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine for the treatment in people over the age of 18.
According to Peter Marks, MD, Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research: “We do have a problem with vaccine uptake that is very serious in the United States,”. “And anything we can do to get people more comfortable with these potentially life-saving medical products is something that we feel we are compelled to do.” This acknowledgment is a step in the right direction.
Next Steps- FDA will then determine whether to grant the EUA which will most definitely happen. Stay tuned.
Did you know that Pottstown Pennsylvania boasts the 2nd oldest working carousel in the United States? Read on to see the link to vaccines.
Vaccines are far from a new phenomenon. Over two centuries ago, Edward Jenner was credited with inventing a vaccine to prevent smallpox. Other notable vaccines include Pertussis (1914) Diphtheria (1926), Tetanus (1938) combined at DTP in 1948. The licensing of the polio vaccine in 1955 was cause for celebration. Fast forward to early 2020, the dire necessity for a vaccine to combat COVID-19 became apparent as an unprecedented pandemic infiltrated the United States.
The #COVID-19 pandemic has thrust vaccines in the forefront and unfortunately the United States passed one million deaths from COVID-19. Yet from the time the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, the United States has been a frontrunner in terms of prevention, vaccine licensure, authorizations and approved treatments not to mention the hundreds of diagnostic tests.
What is the connection with the Carousel in Pottstown, Pennsylvania? Quite simply the answer is vaccines. Sadly, young Derek Saylor died from bacterial meningitis back in the 1990s. Eventually, the Pottstown community conceived the idea to revive the town with the Carousel. The significance is that the revitalization project was a success due to the generosity of Derek’s family. The family wanted to keep Derek’s memory alive and made a generous contribution to bring the carousel to fruition. Finally, the Carousel is a fantastic venue and really brings home the strides the United States has made in vaccines to protect the public.
On May 10, another milestone occurred in the quest to prevent coronavirus disease commonly known as COVID-19. FDA gave the go ahead for expanded emergency use authorization (EUA) to Pfizer-BioNTech for the adolescent age group from ages 12 though 15.
According to FDA, approximately 1.5million cases of COVID-19 have occurred in that age group from March 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”
Further, on May 10, FDA recently updated the Fact Sheets for Vaccine Providers, Recipients and Caregivers- direct links:
First FDA Approval for COVID-19: Veklury (remdesivir), an antiviral drug, manufactured by Gilead. It is for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization.
The FDA granted Gilead’s application Fast Track and Priority Review designations. Further FDA granted this application a Material Threat Medical Countermeasure Priority Review Voucher. This means additional incentives because COVID-19 falls within this category; that is, medical products intended to treat or prevent harm from specific chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. It is important to mention that this approval does not include the entire population that had been authorized to use Veklury under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) (issued on May 1, 2020).
NOTE—FDA had granted Gilead Sciences Orphan Drug status for remdesivir and orphan designation for the “Treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)” (March 23, 2020) which means tax advantages and exclusivity; however, in an unusual twist, Gilead requested on March 25, 2020 that FDA rescind orphan drug designation.