Whether it be in 2020 or 2021, there have been many speculations on when the first COVID-19 vaccine will be ready. Dr. Fauci has said it himself that “the ultimate solution to a virus that might be coming back would be a vaccine. The same way a vaccine for other diseases that were scourges in the past that now we don’t even worry about.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci serves as the White House health adviser and has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
“I think that is doable if things fall in the right place,” Fauci said, in regards to the readiness of millions of COVID-19 vaccines by January of 2021. Research is proving the advancement of science in the global race to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Testing thus far
As of April 29, 5.1 million Americans had been tested for COVID-19. Experts say that’s not nearly enough. One Harvard study estimates that the U.S. needs to start testing 5 million people per day.
In response to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Trump said, “We’re going to show more cases, because we’re doing much, much more testing.”.
When asked about the recent study, Trump claimed, “We will increase it; we will increase it by much more than that in the future.” The Trump administration was critiqued for being unprepared for this pandemic in early April when there were only a recorded 375,000 COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Fauci said on CNN that the coronavirus task force is hoping that “everyone who needs a test” might be able to get one by the end of May or early June.
“It isn’t perfect yet by any means,” Fauci said, adding, “…We’re not there yet, but we’re going to get there; we’re going to get there soon.”
Ongoing vaccine research
As mentioned in a previous Medicare World blog post, a British vaccinology professor, Sarah Gilbert, at Oxford University has told the press that her lab could have a COVID-19 vaccine ready for testing by September of this year.
There are many other scientists working around the world with the World Health Organization (WHO) in a race to discover the first vaccine for COVID-19.
Bloomberg News has reported the Trump Administration’s intention to have as many as 300 million vaccines ready by early 2021. This would be an incredible advancement in science, since a vaccine has never been developed and released that quickly before.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved a vaccine for the coronavirus. Noting that vaccine trials are still in the early phases, Fauci added that to accelerate production, the companies making the medicine would need to do so “at risk.”
Despite the Trump Administration’s sense of urgency with getting the economy back on track, starting with the rush of these vaccines, Dr. Fauci remains firm in his belief that proactivity is a good thing, but rushing the research could put the success of a vaccine at risk.
Dr. Fauci said, “In other words, you don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing. You, at risk, proactively start making it (the vaccine), assuming it’s going to work,” Fauci said. “And if it does, then you can scale up and hopefully get to that timeline.”
Optimism in science
Joe Palca, a science correspondent for NPR, has reported that advances in science have revolutionized the speed at which vaccines can be developed. “In the past it used to take five to 10 years to make a vaccine, and now people are talking about a year or 18 months. So it’s really going faster than expected,” Palca reported on NPR’s Morning Edition this month.
Though Fauci has said that he is “cautiously optimistic,” in the readiness of the COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021, he has also stated that regulations must be upheld amid the race for a vaccine. The government must adhere to “the core principles of the guidelines” before reopening and administering vaccines, in regard to the approval of the FDA.