Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said on Wednesday that he and his team are “cautiously optimistic” about developing a coronavirus vaccine and predict it could be approved in November or December.
“We expect that by the end of this year, say November or December, we will know if these are safe and effective,” Fauci said in a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Work and Pensions Committee.
“Early Phase 1 and Phase 2 animal and human studies indicate that individuals induce a response that is comparable, if not better, to the natural one,” he said. “At this time, doses of this vaccine are being produced so that they are ready to be distributed.”
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Fauci reiterated that he has no qualms about receiving an FDA-approved vaccine.
“If a vaccine that is proven to be, is proven to be and FDA cleared to be safe and effective, I would certainly take that vaccine, and would recommend my family to take this vaccine,” Fauci said.
Fauci said having a coronavirus vaccine approved by Election Day was “unlikely”, if not “impossible,” in an interview with PBS NewsHour in early September.
President Trump said a coronavirus vaccine could be available “during the month of October”, anticipating election day.
“We are an absolute leader in every way,” Trump said on Sept. 7. “Under my leadership, we will produce a vaccine in record time.”
The CDC reportedly told state officials that a vaccine could be distributed by October or November.
On Monday, Trump publicized the vaccine efforts of pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and AstraZeneca (in partnership with the University of Oxford). He listed Pfizer as “really good”.
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Meanwhile, Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris has expressed doubts about the safety of a vaccine touted by Trump.
“I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump and he should be a credible source of information talking about the effectiveness and reliability of whatever he is talking about,” Harris told CNN in early September.
Fox News’ David Aaro and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.