Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the most senior government officials leading the US response to COVID-19, says he “seriously doubts” Russia’s claim to develop a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19. disease.
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While Russian President Vladimir Putin touted the inoculation in an announcement Tuesday, saying the preventative has already been registered, Fauci says he has “heard no evidence” that it is safe.
“I hope the Russians have indeed definitely proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt they did, ”Fauci said during a National Geographic panel moderated by Deborah Roberts of ABC.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund supporting the vaccine called Sputnik V, said on Tuesday that the vaccine had gone through phases one and two of the three standards, but skeptics wonder if it has progressed that far.
Phase three, which typically detects side effects and measures the extent of the vaccine’s effectiveness, is expected to last for months and the timeframe in Russia appears to have been much shorter.
“Having a vaccine… and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“We have half a dozen or more vaccines so if we wanted to risk hurting a lot of people or giving them something that didn’t work, we could start doing that, you know, next week if we wanted it. But that’s not how it works. ”
The US, UK and Canada, which are also furiously researching and testing several potential vaccines, have accused Russian hackers of trying to steal their information on COVID-19 drugs.
Fauci says the United States’ measured approach opens up the possibility of generalized vaccinations available to Americans by early 2021.
Although vaccines against respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 are generally less effective than those against other diseases, such as measles, Fauci said he would “gladly” accept one with “at least” 50% d effectiveness, although it is possible for a new drug to be 75% effective.
The vaccine, Fauci said, would be a very useful “additional tool” in the fight against the global pandemic, which has infected more than 5 million people in the United States and killed more than 166,000 others in the past six months.
However, Americans in all parts of the country should still adhere to basic social distancing guidelines and wear a mask, he said.
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When the initial doses of the vaccine are ready, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the heads of an independent task force, will distribute the initial doses to healthcare workers who care for people with the virus as well as to people. elderly or immunocompromised at higher levels. risk of infection.