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Dr. Fauci delivers good news to Congress about coronavirus vaccines

Published Jun 23rd, 2020 4:29PM EDT
Coronavirus vaccine 2020
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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Tuesday, claiming that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine could be ready in 2020.
  • Fauci cited multiple vaccine candidates that have already entered the second phase of human trials, including the Moderna mRNA vaccine, which will begin Phase 3 in July.
  • Fauci told the committee that they won’t be “cutting corners” when it comes to safety or efficacy.

When will a vaccine for the novel coronavirus be ready to manufacture and distribute to the public?

This has been the number one question on all of our minds since the viral outbreak was declared a pandemic more than three months ago. Unfortunately, we do not have an answer yet, but National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci has given us hope that an answer might not be far off.

In a hearing before Congress on Tuesday about the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci said in his testimony that he is “cautiously optimistic” there could be a vaccine ready to roll out to the public by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021, based on the progress he’s seen.

Here is the relevant quote from Dr. Fauci’s testimony delivered to the Committee on Energy and Commerce:

Although you can never guarantee, at all, the safety and efficacy of a vaccine until you actually test it in the field, we feel cautiously optimistic, based on the concerted effort and the fact we are taking financial risks — not risks to safety, not risks to the integrity of the science, but financial risks to be able to be ahead of the game — so that when, and I believe it will be when and not if, we get favorable candidates with good results, we will be able to make them available to the American public, as I said to this committee months ago, within a year from when we started, which would put us at the end of this calendar year and the beginning of 2021.

Fauci also mentioned the vaccine trial being performed by Moderna, which is scheduled to enter Phase 3 in July, at which point 30,000 participants will either receive a dose of the mRNA vaccine or a placebo. He also talked about the other vaccines that have shown promise, two of which will have Phase 3 studies funded by the US government. One is the University of Oxford vaccine, which we’ve written about on several occasions, and the other is from Johnson & Johnson. The latter has yet to start human trials, but should begin before the end of July.

The timeline remains incredibly aggressive, but Fauci and the rest of the panel, which included CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn, and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, repeatedly assured the committee that they won’t be “cutting corners with respect to the assessment of safety and effectiveness.” After all, if the vaccine isn’t safe or effective, there’s no point in making it available to the public.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.