In an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, Fauci said there are four or five trials underway for candidate vaccines, and he expects the United States to have millions of doses. a vaccine by the end of the year.
“By early 2021 we hope to have a few hundred million doses,” he said.
The Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed several weeks ago to accelerate the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. While public health experts, including Fauci, have said it takes 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine, President Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar aim to deliver 300 million doses of a vaccine available to the American people by the New Year. .
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Working Group, said that phase III trials for a candidate vaccine developed by Moderna, a biotech company based in United States is expected to start in early July. The trial will involve 30,000 people and will include a wide range of participants, including the elderly and those with underlying disorders and co-morbidities.
Another AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford, is following a similar path, said Fauci.
“I am cautiously optimistic that with the multiple candidates we have on different platforms, we are going to have a vaccine that shows a degree of effectiveness that would make it deployable,” he said, adding that most people infected by the coronavirus recovers and makes an immune response to eliminate the virus.
“If the body is able to make an immune response to clear the virus from a natural infection, it’s pretty good proof of concept that you’re going to make an immune response in response to a vaccine,” he said. he declares.
But Fauci warned that there is “never a guarantee, ever, that you will receive an effective vaccine. “
Fauci said production of a vaccine will continue while trials are underway, which will speed up the time it takes to make it public.
“It is not like we are going to make the vaccine, show that it works, and then wait a year to reach millions and millions and millions of doses,” he said. “It will be done while we test the vaccine. “
As many states begin to slowly ease restrictions on the spread of the coronavirus, public health officials say that a return to normal will depend on the availability of a vaccine.
Last month, the Trump administration announced a partnership with AstraZeneca for at least 300 million doses of the vaccine developed by Oxford and committed up to $ 1.2 billion in the effort.