Showing: 1 - 2 of 2 RESULTS

Trump has personally pressured drug company CEOs repeatedly to speed vaccine

A likely contagious President Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday evening, whipped off his mask and filmed a video, heavy on bluster and short on facts, that proclaimed: “The vaccines are coming momentarily.”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on his way to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on September 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Minnesota for a fundraising event and a campaign rally. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on his way to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on September 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Minnesota for a fundraising event and a campaign rally. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Trump, who tested positive for coronavirus last week and is now receiving medical care at the White House, has remained laser-focused on vaccine development even as he has been dismissive of mask-wearing and social distancing — protections health experts say are critical to stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Even before his diagnosis, the President had taken to calling drug companies to check on their vaccine trials, asking how much longer they’ll take and ginning up the pressure around his desire for a vaccine before Election Day.

In his conversations with major drug-makers working on coronavirus vaccines, Trump has been explicit in telling the companies’ CEOs that he’d like to see a vaccine move quicker than some of his health advisers say is reasonable, according to a person familiar with the conversations. He has asked whether they believe they can speed up their timelines and has suggested he is concerned that the FDA’s regulatory process could slow down progress.

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump slammed new rules from the agency that would make it nearly impossible for a vaccine to be approved ahead of the election, calling them a “political hit job.”

“New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!” he wrote in the tweet, which he aimed at FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.

Trump’s repeated calls — especially to Pfizer, whose progress the President sounds most hopeful about recently — are likely to continue through a presidential election that may turn on how voters perceive his handling of the public health crisis.

Meantime, experts worry what Trump’s undivided attention means for the fate of the vaccine. With so much obvious political pressure coming to bear, people may fear that the vaccines aren’t safe for widespread use. Beyond that, they may lose trust in federal regulators and, possibly, in research science.

The political climate surrounding a potential coronavirus vaccine already has scientists cringing.

“There just seems to be this huge pressure from an administration that has been very effective at getting everything wrong,” said Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Oregon Health & Science University. “So, it’s like, how can this go well?”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews dismissed those concerns.

“This President understands that this vaccine cannot get bogged down in government bureaucracy,” Matthews said. “The Trump administration is focused on delivering a safe, effective vaccine to

Trump, pressured over pandemic, says states will receive 150 million tests

By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, under fire over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic, announced on Monday the federal government would ship 150 million rapid tests to U.S. states and warned an increase in positive cases is likely in the days ahead.

Trump, at a Rose Garden event, said the tests would largely be used for opening schools and ensuring safety at centers for senior citizens. He has been pressuring state governors to do more to open schools for in-person learning.

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and virus adviser Scott Atlas warned more positive cases may result from stepped up testing.

“With cases and positivity rising in 10 states in the Midwest and the near-West, and with this historic advance in testing that’s being distributed … the American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead,” Pence said.

The president has repeatedly suggested that more testing leads to more cases, when in fact testing uncovers cases that already exist. Other metrics like increased hospitalizations and deaths have no link to more testing.

The United States has the world’s highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at more than 7 million and the most coronavirus-related deaths, approaching 205,000.

Coronavirus task force members Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield were not at the event.

Two weeks ago Trump was irked when Redfield said in congressional testimony that wearing a mask may be just as important as a vaccine.

Trump said 50 million tests will go to the “most vulnerable communities” including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health and hospice care. Nearly 1 million will be sent to historically Black colleges and universities and tribal nation colleges.

He said 100 million tests would be given to states and territories to “support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and (as) fast as they can.”

“The support my administration is providing would allow every state on a very regular basis test every teacher who needs it,” Trump said.

He said 6.5 million tests will go out this week and the rest in coming weeks.

Trump is trying to show progress in the battle against the pandemic as he campaigns for re-election on Nov. 3 against Democrat Joe Biden. The first presidential debate will be held on Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

The rapid tests announced by Trump were purchased from Abbott Laboratories <ABT.N> in August.

Abbott has said it would scale production capacity to 50 million tests per month by October, and that it could currently produce “tens of millions” of the tests, indicating it will take at least a few months for the tests to be fully distributed to states and territories.

Admiral Brett Giroir, who heads testing efforts for Trump’s coronavirus task force, demonstrated at the event how to conduct the Abbott rapid test, swabbing his nasal passages and dipping the swab into a solution. Results are produced