Dr. Fauci Just Said We Could Have a COVID-19 Vaccine by October
From the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that our best hope in defeating the highly infectious and deadly virus would be in the form of a vaccine. As soon as the virus reared its ugly head in Wuhan, China back in December 2019, researchers around the world have been collecting antibodies and scrambling to develop a concoction that could make people immune to the virus. For several months, infectious disease experts, government officials, and researchers have been hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed, tested, and ready for the general public by early 2021. However, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we may have one sooner rather than later.
An October Vaccine is "Certainly Conceivable"
In a new interview, the nation's leading infectious disease expert revealed that we could be in store for an "October surprise" in the form of an effective vaccine that could save millions from becoming infected. According to The Guardian, Fauci maintained that an October vaccine "is certainly conceivable."
"If we have a real blast of a rash of infection in those sites in which we do have active enrollment, that you might get an answer earlier than November," he revealed. "I doubt that, but we're leaving an open mind that that might be possible."
It's important to note that Dr. Fauci did not say a vaccine would be ready to be distributed by October, or even November, just that one might simply be found to work.
On Monday, the National Institutes of Health started the world's biggest COVID-19 vaccine study, with the help of 30,000 volunteers who will receive shots of the experimental vaccine developed by the NIH and Moderna.
"We're beginning a Phase 3 trial that is very quick—it certainly is the world's record—when one thinks from the time of the sequence to a Phase 3 trial," Fauci said, adding, "There is no compromise at all in safety or scientific integrity."
The interesting thing about the vaccine is that it was developed using mRNA technology, never before used to make a successful vaccine before.
"It's a novel technology. We are certainly aware of the fact that there's not as much experience with this type of platform as there are with other standards," he told reporters during the conference call alongside NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. "I'm not particularly concerned. But I don't want a lack of severe concern to get in the way that we are keeping an open mind to look for any possible deleterious effects as we get into and through the phase three trial."
As part of the trial, some volunteers will get the vaccine and others a placebo, but nobody will know which they are receiving. After two doses, scientists will track each group as they go about their lives, some of them living in areas of the country where the virus is widespread. In addition to figuring out if the vaccine works, another important component is that it is safe.
"Unfortunately for the United States of America, we have plenty of infections right now," Fauci recently told The Associated Press.
Other Trials Underway
Other smaller vaccine trials are currently underway around the world with other large trials upcoming—including Johnson & Johnson in September, Novavax in October, and a 30,000 person study from Pfizer Inc. this summer.
While many people are on the fence about getting a vaccine once it is available, according to an online registry there are a lot of people willing to be vaccine guinea pigs, with over 150,000 filling out an online form, Dr. Larry Corey, a virologist with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute in Seattle, who helps oversee the study sites, told the AP.
As for yourself, avoid catching COVID-19: wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.