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Sen. Marshall calls on FDA to prioritize COVID-19 immune response

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine(WMBF)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 3:03 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Roger Marshall has called on the FDA to prioritize research on COVID-19 immunity responses as vaccinations are on the rise.

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he joined members of the Doctors Caucus to submit a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to encourage it to improve COVID-19 vaccine research and better understand immunity to COVID-19 from those that have been vaccinated and those that have gained immunity through infection.

“Now that COVID-19 infections nationwide have substantially decreased, and continue to fall, due in large part to the widespread availability of vaccines, we ask that you review applications for tests measuring the presence of T-cell mediated immunity to COVID-19,” reads the letter. ‘Tests measuring T-cells could provide better detection of immunity in those naturally infected and could also be pivotal in tracking immunity after vaccination… It has come to our attention that the FDA previously acknowledged that it isn’t prioritizing T-cell tests because it is prioritizing applications for rapid diagnosis, point-of-care diagnostics and variant diagnostics. While this may have been appropriate at the peak of the pandemic, the mitigation efforts must shift from triage to long-term, to include measuring vaccine-induced immunity and natural immune response. We ask that you reevaluate these priorities to consider long-term mitigation of COVID-19.”

According to Sen. Marshall, other Doctors Caucus members that signed the letter include Sen. Rand Paul, M.D. (R-KY) and Reps. Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), Ronny Jackson, M.D. (R-TX), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA).

Marshall said T-cell tests help identify whether a person has been infected by COVID-19 as well as to measure immune response. He said measuring T-cells informs our ability to fight off a COVID-19 infection and how durable vaccines can be overtime for the original virus and its variants. In addition, he said these tests could also inform the medical need of getting a vaccine if a patient has already received immunity through natural infection.

According to Marshall, the products, pending FDA authorization and approval, could play a key role in empowering patients to know more about their immunity status as a result of vaccination or from having gained immunity through infection. Historically, he said the FDA has approved tests to measure T-cells in tuberculosis, a respiratory disease caused by bacterial infection. Throughout the pandemic, he said the FDA approved various diagnostics that have been critical parts of the pandemic response.

To read the full letter, click HERE.

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