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Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn responded to a claim from President Obama’s Centers for Disease Control chief, who had said the FDA was slow to react to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hahn reacted Wednesday on “The Ingraham Angle” to Dr. Thomas Frieden’s claim, saying instead that the Trump FDA had worked since late January to develop testing for coronavirus.
Frieden, who served as ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s health commissioner, said recently that the FDA was “slow to allow the hospital laboratories to develop their own tests and companies like Abbott are just getting into the market where, in other countries, they were months ahead.”
“We squandered months. We knew this was coming from late January and only recently began taking it seriously and now it’s an all hands on deck,” Frieden told MSNBC.
Hahn said the normal progression of such scientific processes is that the CDC is the first agency to examine the virus and develop a potential testing ability.
“I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunity to look back at what we could have done better,” Hahn said.
“I know from an FDA point of view we will be doing that looking forward, but I think the facts are that test was developed in record time by CDC.”
“It was an excellent test and is an excellent test and it was approved by FDA within 24 hours after receiving the data,” he added, claiming the agency has been focused on the issue since January 22.
I think it’s also important to recognize that the facts are that we’ve been working with developers of tests since January, January 22nd
Hahn praised Abbott Labs and other companies who have worked with the administration to develop testing and treatments in record time.
He said Abbott released a new “care test” that allows doctors to test patients in their offices and not more invasively like other tests.
Hahn said such a test normally takes nine months but was formulated in four-to-six weeks.
He also expressed doubt at a claim by his FDA predecessor, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who Ingraham said had claimed GPS-style tracking of Americans may be a worthwhile endeavor to ensure social distancing.
“I think if we were to take that we would have to have a very good reason for doing that. I don’t see that reason right now,” Hahn said.