Fauci Has Good News, Not as Good News on Vaccine

He says we should have hundreds of millions of doses by 2021, but how long will immunity last?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2020 1:52 AM CDT
Fauci Has Good News, Not as Good News on Vaccine
In this April 22, 2020, file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the new coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Dr. Anthony Fauci offered some hopeful comments Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic: By the end of the year, the US should have 100 million doses of one of the candidate COVID-19 vaccines, he said during a live Q&A. "Then, by the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses." The first vaccine candidate, being developed by Moderna, is expected to be in its final stage of volunteer trials, involving about 30,000 people, by mid-summer. "The entire spectrum" of ages and health conditions will be represented in that set of volunteers, Fauci said, per CNN. But doses will start to be manufactured even before the trial is complete, so that if it is determined to be effective, it can be rolled out quickly. Fauci said scientists should know whether the vaccine works before the end of the year.

Fauci said he's "cautiously optimistic" a deployable vaccine will be developed, because most people who get COVID-19 recover. "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" for a vaccine, Fauci said. "Having said that, there is never a guarantee." Other vaccine trials and studies are also underway, and Fauci also said Tuesday, per the Wall Street Journal, that it's likely "there will be several candidates that will arrive at that goal at approximately the same time." But he noted that when it comes to the antibodies that protect against other strains of coronavirus, which cause the common cold, "the durability of immunity that’s protective ranges from three to six months to almost always less than a year." If that's the case with COVID-19, people may need to get re-vaccinated fairly often, as they do with influenza, NBC News reports. (Read more Anthony Fauci stories.)

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