Washington DC [USA], May 15 (Sputnik/ANI): There are not enough doses of the coronavirus trial drug remdesivir because the Trump administration failed to ramp up production and lacks a distribution plan, former government vaccine developer Rick Bright said on Thursday.
"We are seeing challenges with limited doses of remdesivir," Bright told a congressional hearing. "We haven't scaled up production and we don't have a plan on how to fairly and equitably distribute."
The US Food and Drug Administration approved emergency-use authorization for remdesivir earlier this month.
Bright, who previously headed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) as its top vaccine expert, says he suggested remdesivir as early as February to relevant officials in the administration as a potentially appropriate treatment for the coronavirus, but found himself ignored.
The near three-month lapse since has cost the United States, which now has 1.4 million cases and more than 85,000 deaths from the coronavirus, urgent time in responding to the pandemic, Bright told Thursday's hearing.
Bright says he was fired from BARDA after refusing to endorse President Donald Trump's recommendation for the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as an alternative but unproven prescription for the COVID-19. The former vaccine expert has since been rehired at another health division within the administration.
Asked if he was concerned about the administration's competence in handling the US vaccine under development for the coronavirus, Bright replied: "Absolutely".
"You can imagine this scenario this fall or winter, maybe even early next spring, when the vaccine becomes available," he said. "There's not one company that can produce enough for our country or for the world. We need to have a strategy and plan in place now to make sure that we can make that vaccine distributed in a fair and equitable manner."
While Trump has suggested that a US vaccine for the coronavirus can be fast-tracked to be available by end of this year, Bright said the project would take at least 12 to 18 months, "even on an aggressive schedule". (Sputnik/ANI)