U.S. FDA chief says 'rapidly' working to issue Moderna vaccine authorization

FILE PHOTO: FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn testifies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 23, 2020. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informed Moderna Inc that it will rapidly work towards the finalization and issuance of emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, commissioner Stephen Hahn said late Thursday.

Earlier in the day, a panel of external advisers to the FDA overwhelmingly endorsed emergency use of Moderna vaccine candidate, virtually assuring a second option for protecting against COVID-19 for a pandemic-ravaged nation.

The FDA is expected to grant the EUA as early as late Thursday or Friday, providing another ray of hope to a nation that has lost more than 300,000 lives to COVID-19 and as record numbers of patients threaten to overwhelm U.S. hospitals and healthcare workers.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips