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Technical, But Key Meeting

A group of independent advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration — including infectious disease, vaccine, and biostatistics experts — are meeting this week to establish guidelines for how they will make recommendations regarding the use of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post reports. It notes that the FDA typically follows the recommendations of its advisory committees. 

The Post adds that a number of late-stage clinical trials of candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are expected to release their first wave of data soon. In particular, initial results are expected either later this month or in November from Pfizer and Moderna, both of which have released their trial protocols.

This discussion, which the Post notes may appear to focus on arcane technical points, in part aims to reassure the public that, even with the breakneck speed of development, authorized vaccines will be trustworthy. "A lot of words ... may not necessarily appeal to the average listener," Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, tells the Post. "It's an important moment, though, to reassure the public this is going to be a transparent decision-making process, and FDA is not going to be pressured into giving an emergency use authorization if the data doesn't support that."