WASHINGTON, D.C.–The tests that are going to be available for general use were pushed through without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar. He said in an interview Wednesday that was done for expediency.
“We’re radically expanding the capability to test here in the United States,” he said. “The vice president and I are working with the private sector. We have unleashed the regulatory burden to let the private sector come up with their own tests without waiting for the FDA approval.”
Azar, a former top executive at Eli Lilly, which develops medications, echoed what Indiana Sen. Mike Braun (R), said Tuesday after a briefing with Vice Pres. Pence, that the vaccine may take up to a year or more to develop.
The vaccine will not be free of government regulation.
“It’s gonna take overall 12 to 18 months before you could see a possible vaccine,” he said. “You’re putting a vaccine into otherwise healthy people. So, it must be incredibly safe as well as effective.”
Azar said the majority of people who have died have been older people and the more medically frail, or people who have existing conditions.
“We’re seeing very few if any children who are succumbing to it, in terms of fatality.”
Azar predicted that millions of testing kits would become available, which stretches beyond Braun’s understanding that one and a half million would be the number. It is unclear if Indiana has any testing kits available.