HealthDay News — According to Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be available by year’s end.
“Then, by the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses,” Fauci said during a conference with the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is still not clear which vaccine will be effective. One vaccine candidate, developed by drug company Moderna and NIAID, will start phase 3 trials by midsummer, Fauci said.
“The real business end of this all will be the phase 3 that starts in the first week of July, hopefully,” Fauci said. “We want to get as many data points as we can.” The phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled trial will enroll about 30,000 people. A phase 2 trial started a few days ago. The plan, according to Fauci, is to make doses of the vaccine before it is known if it will work, so if it does work, it can be distributed quickly.
Another vaccine from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is on a similar schedule. “I’m cautiously optimistic that with the multiple candidates we have with different platforms, that we are going to have a vaccine that will make it deployable,” Fauci said. He is optimistic because infected people do develop immune system antibodies against the new coronavirus, “which tells us that if the body is capable of making an immune response to clear the virus of natural infection, that’s a pretty good proof of concept,” Fauci said. “Having said that, there is never a guarantee.”
Fauci added that he is more concerned about the durability of response than whether the vaccine will achieve a protective response. “If you look at the duration of protection when you recover from one of the several benign coronaviruses that cause the common cold, the durability of protection is only measured in a year or less as opposed to some of the other infections where you could have a 10-, 15-, 20-year degree of protection,” he said.