Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top public health expert and a member of the national coronavirus taskforce, believes that by New Year’s the nation could have at its disposal "a couple of hundred million doses" of a vaccine for COVID-19, reported CBS News.
Speaking in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association on 2 June, one of the nation's leading infectious disease experts revealed that currently there are four or five trials underway for vaccine candidates.
"By the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple of hundred million doses," said Fauci.
Phase III trials for a vaccine candidate developed by US-based biotech company Moderna are scheduled to begin in early July, said Fauci, adding that another candidate from AstraZeneca, developed by the University of Oxford, is also on track.
According to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the trial involves 30,000 people ranging from the elderly to those with underlying conditions.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that with the multiple candidates that we have with different platforms, that we're going to have a vaccine that shows a degree of efficacy that would make it deployable," said Fauci.
Nevertheless, the infectious disease expert warned that there was "never a guarantee, ever, that you're going to get an effective vaccine."
To fast-track the route from clinical trials to the public, Fauci said production of a vaccine was going to proceed parallel with the trials.
"It isn't as if we're going to make the vaccine, show it's effective and then have to wait a year to rev up to millions and millions and millions of doses... That's going to be done as we're testing the vaccine," said Fauci.
Earlier, speaking on CNN, Anthony Fauci said there was a “good chance” a vaccine might be deployable by November or December 2020, if “things fall into the right place”.
“I still think that we have a good chance, if all the things fall in the right place, that we might have a vaccine that would be deployable by the end of the year, by November-December,” Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @jimsciutto.https://t.co/wmHCTqWhJD pic.twitter.com/xVmDR1SKZb— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 27, 2020
Operation Warp Speed
US public health officials have been driving home the urgency of an available vaccine as many states in the country begin gradually easing lockdown restrictions, put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 15 May Donald Trump announced the launch of "Operation Warp Speed", aimed at developing an effective coronavirus vaccine.
The administration also revealed its partnership with AstraZeneca for at least 300 million doses of a vaccine developed by Oxford University.
Addressing reporters in the White House Rose Garden, Trump suggested a vaccine would be available in the "pretty near future," by the end of the year, despite Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioning that a vaccine would take 12-18 months to develop.