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Indian Am scientist leads effort to approve COVID vaccine

A scientific panel which approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States is lead by an Indian American.

According to Newsday, the panel on Thursday approved BNT162b2, the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval for emergency use in the United States. Some people throughout the country may be able to receive the shots as early as next week.

An FDA roster lists Prabhakara Atreya as director of the  Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. She holds a PhD in biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. In 2009, Atreya worked as a scientist at the National Institute of Health

Atreya joins a long list of Indian doctors, scientists, and physicians working to protect public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian American pediatrician Archana Chatterjee, Dean of the Chicago Medical School, also attended the meeting.

The purpose of the science court was to discuss emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. US regulators and experts from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) debated virtually with the Food and Drug Administration — via conference call — for more than four hours.

Health care workers and nursing home residents will receive vaccinations first, once they become available.

FDA panel discusses Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine before potential emergency-use authorization; Video by WKYC Channel 3 via YouTube

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