Story at a glance
- Anthony Fauci said the U.S. should have 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and a couple hundred million by early 2021.
- He said he’s cautiously optimistic the U.S. will have an effective vaccine in a reasonable period of time.
- But Fauci warned there is never a guarantee of an effective vaccine, saying he has some concerns about the durability of the immune response as there’s a chance it might not provide long-term immunity.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert said Tuesday the United States should have about 100 million doses of one potential coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year and a couple hundred million by the start of 2021.
“We’re going to start manufacturing doses of the vaccines way before we even know that the vaccine works,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Tuesday during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA).
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“So that by the end of the year the prediction of the statistical analysis and the projection of cases indicate that we may know whether its effective, efficacious or not by maybe November, December, which means that by that time we hopefully would have close to a 100 million doses,” Fauci said. “By the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses.”
A number of clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently taking place across the globe. Fauci said Phase 3 trials for a vaccine candidate developed by Moderna are expected to kick off in early July. The trial will involve 30,000 people and include a wide range of participants, including those with underlying conditions and the elderly. Another vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford is proceeding on a similar track, Fauci said.
Fauci said he’s cautiously optimistic that a vaccine that shows a degree of efficacy will be developed, as most people who become infected with the coronavirus make an immune response to clear the virus and recover. But Fauci warned there is never a guarantee you’re going to get an effective vaccine, saying he has some concerns about the durability of the immune response as there’s a chance it might not provide long-term immunity.
He said people develop antibodies to fight common colds caused by different strains of the coronavirus, but that protection typically only lasts about a year.
The U.S. has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. More than 1.8 million cases have been confirmed across the country with more than 106,000 deaths. Worldwide, more than 6.4 million cases have been tallied with more than 382,000 deaths.
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