The United States is making preparations to secure 100 million of doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that if the vaccine proves to be effective the U.S. should have "a couple hundred million doses" by the beginning of 2021.
Scientists around the world are working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 as quickly as possible. Dr. Fauci said he is involved in four different trials for potential vaccines. While vaccines usually take 12-18 months to develop and test, the process for this vaccine has been sped up.
He said that one of the vaccines, which is being developed by biotech company Moderna in partnership with the NIAID, is slated to begin the third and final phase of trials this summer.
"The real business end of this all will be the Phase III that starts in the first week of July, hopefully," Fauci said. "We want to get as many data points as we can."
Fauci said that while it is unknown if the vaccine will work, companies are starting to mass produce them so they can be quickly distributed once they have been certified as safe and effective.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that with the multiple candidates we have with different platforms, that we are going to have a vaccine that will make it deployable," Fauci said.
Fauci cautioned that a single vaccine may not provide a permanent solution to global epidemic.
"When you look at the history of coronaviruses, the common coronaviruses that cause the common cold, the reports in the literature are that the durability of immunity that's protective ranges from three to six months to almost always less than a year," Dr. Fauci said. "That's not a lot of durability and protection."
If that is the case, Fauci said that people may need to get vaccinated every year, just like the flu.
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