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COVID-19 Vaccines Under Development Not Guaranteed to Work, Warns Merck CEO

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 16 Jul 2020
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Image: COVID-19 Vaccines Under Development Not Guaranteed to Work, Warns Merck CEO (Photo courtesy of Merck)
Image: COVID-19 Vaccines Under Development Not Guaranteed to Work, Warns Merck CEO (Photo courtesy of Merck)
COVID-19 vaccines that are currently under development are not guaranteed to work and those claiming that a vaccine would be ready before the year-end are doing a “grave disservice to the public,” according to Kenneth Frazier, Chief Executive of Merck (Kenilworth, NJ, USA).

In an interview published on a Harvard Business School website, Frazier said that the potential COVID-19 vaccines may lack the qualities required for rapid deployment among a large population. “If you’re going to use a vaccine on billions of people, you better know what that vaccine does,” he said.

Frazier’s comments came soon after a US official stated that drugmakers partnering with the US government were on track to begin actively manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine by summer end. The Trump administration has rolled out Operation Warp Speed Program with a target to produce 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021. Merck plans to study potential vaccine and therapy candidates for COVID-19 but has not yet begun clinical trials for its vaccine.

Frazier warned that some previous vaccines “not only didn’t confer protection, but actually helped the virus invade the cell, because it was incomplete in terms of its immunogenic properties. So we have to be very careful.”

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