CBS News has obtained a letter from the FDA that suggests the Food and Drug Administration is considering the idea of a “Pork” vaccine.
It would involve using pork in a vaccine, with no human-like parts.
It would not be a human-based vaccine.
And it would not require approval by Congress.
“We have been looking at ways to get this out there,” FDA Director Tom Frieden said at a news conference Thursday.
The FDA would be “very careful” about approving the product without approval from Congress, Frieden told reporters.
He also said the agency will continue to study a pig-based version of the vaccine.
“We are going to be very careful,” Frieden added.
“It’s not going to get approved without Congress’ consent.”
What’s more, FDA spokeswoman Rachel Hahn said FDA has not yet seen the proposal.
In a statement, the agency said it has “been in communication with a number of stakeholders” on the vaccine, including animal welfare groups and “other stakeholders who have expressed interest in the vaccine.”
Frieden said the FDA is “still working to finalize the details” of the proposal and will take comments from the public.
FDA officials say they are not discussing the idea with the public and the agency has not determined whether it would be legal.
However, a letter written by the FDA’s vice chairman of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Safety Branch, which regulates vaccines, indicates that FDA is considering a vaccine that could be produced with human cells and animal organs.
A letter from a member of the FDA staff, dated April 8, 2017, said the office is “reviewing the potential use of cells derived from pig and human cells for an adjuvant vaccine.”
“The staff is exploring whether this type of approach would be possible to develop safely,” the letter reads.
“We have received many comments from stakeholders on this issue.”
In an email, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which oversees FDA, told CBS News that FDA officials have “not made any decisions about whether to pursue or not pursue the use of pig cells for human-derived vaccines.”
The White House also did not respond to a request for comment from CBS News.