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May 14, 2020

Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Foster Holds Bipartisan Roundtable on COVID-19 Vaccine Research and Development

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a bipartisan roundtable with Dr. Jesse L. Goodman, Director at Georgetown University’s Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship (COMPASS), formerly the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) from 2003-2009 and the Chief Scientist of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2009-2014; Dr. Peter Smith, Professor of Tropical Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Dr. Peter J. Hotez, Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine on the opportunities and challenges confronting accelerated vaccine research and development for a COVID-19 vaccine.   

“There is widespread agreement among scientists and public health experts that a safe and effective vaccine is the key to overcoming COVID-19,” said Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. “While social distancing measures, antibody tests and medical treatments can help us save lives and create a new normal in our society, only a vaccine can end the crisis once and for all without unimaginable human cost. We need to take unprecedented steps to develop a vaccine as soon as possible. But in doing so, we cannot afford to compromise our ability to ensure the safety and efficacy of any vaccine that emerges. The traditional process of developing new vaccines takes years, if not decades, but there are opportunities to speed up the process while maintaining scientific integrity.”

The Members and panelists discussed how long it could take to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, which methods hold the greatest promise, and how the vaccine research and development process can be expedited for COVID-19 without compromising safety and efficacy.

“Developing a successful vaccine will be a key step in bringing an end to this deadly pandemic and resuming life as usual,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “It’s so important that we support research not only in times of crisis, but consistently, so we are as prepared as we can be for the next outbreak and so we can learn valuable lessons from our current situation.”