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Dr. Fauci thinks a game-changing COVID vaccine is about to be approved

Published Jan 26th, 2021 5:02PM EST
Coronavirus vaccine
Image: terovesalainen/Adobe

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  • White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci says a single-shot coronavirus vaccine is no more than two weeks away from approval.
  • That coronavirus vaccine would be a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Instead of leaving recipients in a vulnerable state over a couple of weeks or so, a single-shot coronavirus vaccine would work over a much shorter time period.

Health experts like White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci are getting increasingly worried about the dangerous new COVID-19 variants that are circulating in the US — to the point that Dr. Fauci has started telling people to wear two face masks instead of one for even better protection.

Officials in Minnesota, for example, announced on Monday that they’d detected the so-called P.1 variant of the coronavirus in a traveler from Brazil, per CNN. That’s one of four much more transmissible coronavirus variants the CDC is keeping close track of, with another of those (the UK’s B.1.1.7 variant) already having been found in more than 20 US states. Dr. Fauci, meanwhile, is optimistic that a big leap forward is about to be made in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s because of a new single-shot coronavirus vaccine he thinks is no more than two weeks away from approval.

“The data will be analyzed in a similar fashion (to) the way we analyzed it with the Moderna and the Pfizer candidate,” Dr. Fauci told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow this week, by way of explaining what will happen next in terms of the single-shot approval. “That is an independent data and safety monitoring board. We’ll look at the data, determine if it’s ready to be given to the public, to the companies so that they can go to the FDA and ask to see if they could get an emergency use authorization.

“…I don`t want to get ahead of them, but I have to tell you, I would be surprised if it was any more than two weeks from now that data will be analyzed and decisions would be made. That’s really good news, as you said, because that would be, if it does get an emergency use authorization, yet again another candidate that does have some differences. And that’s good, because it gives a wider range of flexibility.”

Why is that important? The most crucial reason has to do with the fact that the positive effect of the shot, providing the recipient with protection against the coronavirus, would be realized much sooner than the two-shot treatments from drugmakers like Pfizer. With those, the two doses are spread over a couple of weeks, creating a kind of limbo period where the recipient is still in a vulnerable state.

This will also help President Biden achieve his goal much more quickly, of ramping up the US to a cadence of at least 1.5 million COVID vaccinations per day. The administration is currently racing toward its pledge of 100 vaccinations completed in Biden’s first 100 days, with the US only about a fourth of the way there so far. Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker shows that 23.5 million COVID shots have been administered in the US — though, the good news is that we’re just shy of the president’s new daily goal.

Right now, the US is administering around 1.25 million vaccinations per day.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.