“It's no secret to anyone that we're dealing in a very intense political atmosphere," the United States' top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
Speaking to CBS This Morning, Fauci called the recent ethics pact made by major pharmaceutical companies "a good thing."
The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that going forward, independent data and safety monitoring boards would "look at the data intermittently, on a regular basis, to determine just what the status of the trial is."
There are also advisory boards that vaccine makers will need to get past in order to get an emergency use authorization or even approval, he said.
"So there's really a lot of transparency in that," Fauci added. "I do hope, and I believe that [there] won't be a politicization of this. There may be a political atmosphere, but I don't think we're going to have a politicization of the actual decisions regarding a vaccine."
Fauci said the pause on the AstraZeneca vaccine trial acted as a "safety valve."
He told CBS: "That's the reason why you have the various phases of trials -- to determine if in fact these candidates are safe."
"It's unfortunate that it happened. Hopefully they'll work it out and be able to proceed along with the remainder of the trial, but you don't know, they need to investigate it further," Fauci said.
He said scientists had to "always make the presumption that it's due directly to the actual vaccine, or therapeutic, or whatever it is that's in the clinical trial."
"This is an example of the kind of thing that you do to make sure we're dealing with a product that's safe," he added.