A vaccine to treat the deadly coronavirus could be ready as early as by December, White House's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday. Fauci had earlier said that a vaccine to treat Covid-19 could be ready for distribution within 12 to 18 months.
On Friday he said that the schedule for a potential is still intact. Fauci's remarks are surly going to re-instill faith in millions who along with health experts believe that only a vaccine can save the world from the deadly coronavirus. Fauci's remarks sent Moderna's shares rallying, which is developing a vaccine to treat the virus.
Fauci Boosts Confidence
Fauci on Friday said that it was possible that the United States could start rolling out a possible vaccine to treat Covid-19 by December this year or January 2021. "I think it is conceivable, if we don't run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year, December 2020," he said in an interview to Noel King.
However, he also cautioned that any timeline for a vaccine is "never a promise". Fauci's remarks come a day after biotech firm Moderna shared some positive data from its phase one human trial on its potential vaccine. The National Institutes of Health has partnered with Moderna to develop a vaccine to treat Covid-19. Fauci's remarks sent Moderna's shares rallying.
Hopes Somewhat Dashed
Despite Fauci's remarks hopes of a vaccine were somewhat dashed on reports that researchers at Moderna said the released data was incomplete. Fauci described it on Friday as "partial data." Fauci also said that regulators were no way compromising on safety or "scientific integrity" at the cost of accelerating the development of a vaccine candidate.
"When you're dealing with vaccines there could be so many things that get in the way like it might not be entirely effective," Fauci added. However, the U.S. government in collaboration with Moderna has reportedly made quite some progress in development of the vaccine.
Last month, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority awarded Moderna $483 million in funding to speed up development of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna too has entered into a 10-year partnership with Swiss contract drugmaker Lonza to ramp up production of the vaccine. Moderna at that time had said that it could start production as early as in July if the vaccine proves to be effective.