Dr. Anthony Fauci reaffirmed Friday that the first coronavirus vaccine could be available to Americans before the end of the year. "We hope that as ... we get into the late fall and early winter we will have, in fact, a vaccine that we can say would be safe and effective," Fauci told a House panel, per the Washington Post. "One can never guarantee the safety or effectiveness unless you do the trial, but we are cautiously optimistic." He also told members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that as of Thursday, more than 250,000 had volunteered to take part in clinical trials for vaccine candidates. (The first vaccine to emerge may have limitations, including the need for two doses.) Coverage:
- Elaborating: Not everybody will be able to get the vaccine immediately, Fauci cautioned, per the AP. But "I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it."
- No, again: Fauci again cast doubt on hydroxychloroquine as a treatment. "That study is a flawed study," he said of research out of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit that has been cited by President Trump and other backers of the anti-malarial drug, reports the New York Times.
- Europe: Why is Europe generally containing the pandemic better than the US? "When they shut down, they shut down to the tune of about 95%, getting their baseline down to tens or hundreds of cases a day," Fauci said. By contrast, he said the US did less, per CNN. "Even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shut down only about 50% in the sense of the totality of the country."
- Not going there: Fauci and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio had what the Times describes as a "testy exchange" when Jordan pressed Fauci to say that protests across the country should be limited because they were health risks. "I'm not going to opine on limiting anything," Fauci said. "I'm telling you what it is, the danger. And you can make your own conclusion about that. You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowd is."
- Trump: The president was apparently watching. After Democratic Rep. James Clyburn displayed a chart showing how cases in Europe compare favorably to those in the US, Trump weighed in. "Somebody please tell Congressman Clyburn, who doesn't have a clue, that the chart he put up indicating more CASES for the U.S. than Europe, is because we do MUCH MORE testing than any other country in the World," he tweeted. "If we had no testing, or bad testing, we would show very few CASES." An examination of data by ProPublica concludes the president is wrong about this assertion.
- Testing delays: The US "testing czar," Adm. Brett Giroir, told lawmakers that huge demand for testing made it currently impossible to deliver results in two to three days. "It is not a possible benchmark we can achieve today, given the demand and the supply," he said. Technology that allows testing outside of labs could eventually help the US reach that goal, he added.
- Vaccine prep: The US government pledged up to $2.1 billion Friday to vaccine partners Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline to secure 100 million doses of a vaccine now in clinical trials, reports Bloomberg. It's the biggest investment yet in the feds' Operation Warp Speed vaccine project, aimed at putting potential remedies on a fast track.
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