Dr. Anthony Fauci said a coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be ready by the Nov. 3 presidential election – despite President Trump’s suggestion this week that one could be available by next month, according to a report.
The nation’s top infectious diseases expert said it’s more likely an inoculation will be ready by “the end of the year” as drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer race to complete patient enrollment for late-stage trials by the end of this month, CNBC reported.
“It’s unlikely we’ll have a definitive answer” by the election, Fauci said at the Research! America 2020 National Health Research Forum.
On Monday, the president teased that a vaccine could be ready by October.
“We’ve done an incredible job, and in speed like nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump said about a vaccine during a White House press conference Monday.
“This could have taken two or three years. And instead it’s going to be done in a very short period of time. Could even have it during the month of October,” the president said.
“The vaccine will be very safe and very effective and it will be delivered very soon,” he added. “You could have a very big surprise coming up.”
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently told leaders in all 50 states and several major cities to prepare to distribute a vaccine as early as Nov. 1.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s Operation War Speed initiative, has told NPR that it is “extremely unlikely” a vaccine will ready for public distribution in November.
The Food and Drug Administration has said it would authorize a vaccine as long as it is safe and at least 50 percent effective, according to CNBC.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has said the agency is prepared to bypass the full federal approval process in order to make a shot available as soon as possible – but he also said the FDA wouldn’t authorize a vaccine that’s not safe.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday said trial results also will be reviewed by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent group of medical experts, CNBC reported.
Last week, he said a vaccine could become available sooner than expected — as long as clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results.
On Tuesday, nine drugmakers pledged to make safety their top priority as they race to develop a vaccine— vowing they would not seek emergency authorization before large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials are completed.
AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi said in a joint statement that they would follow “high ethical standards and sound scientific principles” in their efforts to study and produce an inoculation that could help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Later in the day, AstraZeneca announced that it put its testing on hold after a study participant suffered a possible serious side effect.