Any coronavirus vaccine, even if it proves to be safe and effective, may not guarantee immunity for a long time, maybe at the most "up to a year", former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on Wednesday. Gottlieb's comments come just a day after White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci made similar remarks saying that he worries about the "durability" of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Drugmakers across the world are working on developing a vaccine to treat Covid-19, with a handful of companies having started human trials. However, health experts believe that even if a vaccine is developed, it will take 12 to 18 months to reach the markets. The deadly coronavirus has already claimed over 380,000 lives globally.
Vaccine Likely to be Season
Gottlieb on Wednesday said that a coronavirus vaccine even if proves safe and effective will still in all likelihood provide immunity for only a limited amount of time, maybe "up to a year" at the most. Gottlieb in an interview to CNBC said that the vaccine probably would be seasonal and a single dose won't be sufficient to keep oneself safe from coronavirus.
"It's probably a vaccine that we're going to need to take every year," Gottlieb said. Although a number of drugmakers are experimenting with Covid-19 vaccine candidates, a final vaccine is far from reality as of now. Moreover, even if a vaccine gets developed, it will be a year or more before they are widely available. Even then, the vaccine may not be effective enough or sufficiently utilized to defeat the new illness.
Gottlieb Echoes Fauci's Comments
Gottlieb's comments come just a day after Fauci said that he worries about the "durability" of a potential coronavirus vaccine, saying there's a chance it may not provide long-term immunity. "Dr. Fauci's right, the immunity's not going to be long term in the form of a smallpox vaccine or a polio vaccine where you get the vaccine once and you're protected for the rest of your life or most of your life," Gottlieb added.
It is more likely that people will be asked to take the Covid-19 vaccine annually, along with the flu vaccine. Fauci had said that coronavirus have a typical pattern of infecting humans. Going by the history of coronaviruses, the common coronaviruses that cause cough and cold, the durability if immunity that's protective, ranges from three to six months to almost less than a year.
That said, the National Institutes of Health has been fast-tracking work with biotech firm Moderna on a potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19. The company plans to enroll about 30,000 volunteers before it begins a Phase 3 trial in July. There are at least four trials for potential vaccines that Fauci is either directly or indirectly involved in.