Experts anticipate that at least one COVID-19 vaccine will be approved for emergency use by the end of the year. University of Iowa coronavirus expert Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, is among the national experts advising the federal government on that decision, as well as how to prioritize distribution of the first doses of an approved vaccine.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, Perlman, a professor of microbiology and immunology, and pediatrics, who has been studying coronaviruses for almost 40 years, has shared his expertise with numerous national and international committees. He was part of the international committee that named the virus SARS-CoV-2.
Perlman is a member of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which is charged with advising the FDA on the approval of COVID-19 vaccines. In late October, the VRBPAC held their first meeting on the development, authorization and/or licensure of vaccines to prevent COVID-19. During the day-long, public meeting, the committee heard from experts and from the public. The committee will continue to meet as vaccine manufacturers submit applications for emergency use authorization (EUA) based on preliminary data from their Phase 3 clinical trials. Ultimately, VRBPAC will offer recommendations to the FDA on whether to approve those EUA applications. The FDA is not bound to follow the committee’s recommendations, but most often does.
Perlman also helps advise the CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of medical and public health experts that develops recommendations on how to use vaccines to control diseases in the United States. Perlman is a consultant on the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Subgroup of ACIP, which recently presented on COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy.