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EXCLUSIVE-FDA commissioner disputes Trump, says no "deep state" elements delaying vaccine

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not made up of "deep state" elements that are trying to delay a coronavirus vaccine as President Donald Trump has suggested, the agency's commissioner told Reuters on Monday.

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not made up of "deep state" elements that are trying to delay a coronavirus vaccine as President Donald Trump has suggested, the agency's commissioner told Reuters on Monday.

Dr. Stephen Hahn said he was completely confident that the FDA's workers were focused solely on the good of the American public.

Without evidence, Trump on Saturday accused members of the so-called “deep state” at the FDA of working to slow testing of COVID-19 vaccines until after the Nov. 3 presidential election.

"I have not seen anything that I would consider to be 'deep state' at the FDA," Hahn told Reuters in an interview.

Hahn said had a solid relationship with Trump, a Republican whose re-election chances in November have been dampened by public discontent over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I enjoy a very good relationship with the president and I have discussed our decisions with him, and I feel very comfortable and continue to feel comfortable with that relationship," Hahn said.

Hahn said a recent FDA decision to authorize a coronavirus treatment that uses blood plasma from recovered patients was not done because of political pressure, and he said he would not let such pressure influence a decision about a future COVID-19 vaccine.

"I will not participate in a decision at FDA that's made upon anything other than data and science. That I can assure you," he said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger & Simon Cameron-Moore)

((jeff.mason@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898 8300; On Twitter: @jeffmason1; Reuters Messaging: jeff.mason.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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