Fauci: Vaccine for COVID-19 variant ‘likely will take several months’
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, on Thursday said that a vaccine for a variant strain of the coronavirus believed to have originated in South Africa will likely take “several months.”
“That likely will take several months,” Fauci said, asked about the timeline for development of the vaccine by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
“We’re already, for example, working with the Moderna company. Pfizer’s doing it on their own, I’m sure. It’s a good company, a big company,” he added. “But what we’re doing is, we’re working with them to get a sample of the vaccine that you can actually have it code for the protein that’s the appropriate protein for the South African isolate.”
Fauci added that “there is enough cushion in the efficacy of the vaccine that there is still some protection, particularly against serious disease. So, although the vaccine might not protect against mild to moderate disease with the South African isolate, when you look at the data, it strongly suggests that it will do quite well against serious disease, namely, keeping people out of the hospital and preventing them from dying.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases added that “finally, what we are doing, in anticipation of maybe needing to use this — we don’t know yet — is to making now other versions of the vaccine which are directed specifically against the South African isolate.”
Also on Thursday, Fauci warned extreme weather in some regions of the country would likely cause delays in vaccination.
“We’re just going to have to make up for it as soon as the weather lifts a bit, the ice melts and we can get the trucks out, and the people out and getting the vaccine into people’s arms,” Fauci told MSNBC on Thursday. “We’re going to just have to make up for it, namely do double time when this thing clears up.”
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