More than 107,000 Americans have volunteered to participate in clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccines as of last week, according to a USA Today report.
While the number is still shy of the needed 120,000, or 30,000 for each of the four drugmakers launching phase three trials, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care — Presented by Indivior — CDC panel approves boosters for some, but not based on jobs Fauci: 'Worst time' for a government shutdown is in middle of pandemic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the quick sign-ups are a positive sign, according to the newspaper.
“That’s why we’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to get the trials enrolled in an expeditious way. I think we can do what we need to do,” Fauci said.
“I would say it’s very encouraging at this stage to have 107,000 volunteers,” Barry Bloom, a professor of public health at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health, told the newspaper.
To accelerate the trial process, the National Institutes of Health earlier this month launched the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network, combining four pre-existing trial networks that have been used as far back as the AIDS crisis.
“It would take literally years to build up a network that I’ve build up over the last 30 years. So why do it? We’re going to use what we have,” Fauci said.
"Each vaccine needs to be tested on about 30,000 volunteers," NIH Director Francis Collins said in June. "We don't believe that we have enough power in the analysis to be able to document the vaccine works unless you get to roughly that number."
The Food and Drug Administration is prioritizing the demographics that have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic for testing, including minorities, the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions, but the trials will adhere to the same strict safety standards as other vaccines.
“The guidelines for these trials are really clear. They will be scientifically rigorous and there are no shortcuts,” Bloom told USA Today.