If all goes well, the first doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will likely be available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease expert, on Thursday.
Based on current predictions from vaccine leaders Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, Americans will likely “know sometime in December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told a live Chat on Twitter and Facebook.
“We hope that the first interim look (of the test results) should take place in the next few weeks,” he said.
Both companies started in late July with tens of thousands of people taking part in each study.
Moderna said earlier Thursday it was on track to provide preliminary data from its large, late-stage test next month.
Pfizer, which is expected to release preliminary data in October, is unlikely to release data before November, likely after the November 3rd US presidential election.
The data must then be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who make recommendations on who will receive the first doses if the studies prove successful.
In practice, Fauci said, the first doses of the vaccine would likely be used “by late December or early January” on those who are considered to be most in need.
Fauci’s comments were part of a conversation with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, answered questions from listeners.
Even with an effective vaccine to protect against the virus, Fauci says it will take some time to get back to normal as immunity induced by vaccines is built both nationally and globally. He said life is unlikely to return to normal “at least until the end of 2021”.
Meanwhile, Collins urged Americans to be ready to continue wearing masks and maintain social distance.
“I know Americans are fed up with these measures. They are tired of wearing masks. They are tired of not being able to get together,” said Collins. “But we still have a long way to go.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)