Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor for the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, said Tuesday that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine for the coronavirus will be available to the American public by the end of the year or early 2021.
“The hallmark of all really defining responses that we have to virus diseases, if you look at the history of viral diseases, it is generally vaccines that put the nail in the coffin of these types,” Fauci said during testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Fauci said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the administration will be able to make a vaccine “available to the American public … within a year from when we started, which would put us at the end of this calendar year and the beginning of 2021.”
The administration’s top infectious disease expert added that he believes it is a question of “when and not if” the vaccine trials currently underway produce favorable candidates with good results. Meanwhile, his team is taking “financial risks, not risks to safety, not risks to the integrity of the science” in order to be “ahead of the game” on vaccine development.
Several vaccine trials are “moving along at various paces,” Fauci said.
“One of them will enter phase three study in July. This is one that has already shown in preliminary studies some very favorable response in the animal models that were developed,” he continued. “There will be others that will follow in one month, two months, three months later.”
Fauci cautioned, however, that “you can never guarantee at all the safety and efficacy of a vaccine until you actually test it in the field.”
The remarks come as some states that recently reopened most of their economies, including Texas, Florida, and Arizona, experience what he called a “disturbing surge” in coronavirus cases.
President Trump suggested last week that the virus could simply “fade away” without a vaccine, although he added that, “we’re very close to a vaccine.”