The chief expert on infectious diseases in the United States assured that in seeking to get a vaccine as soon as possible, developers do not compromise safety.
A leading American expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggested that the country will reach the goal and receive a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.
However, he was not fazed by the prospect that China might get the vaccine first.
“I have good expectations about the expected deadlines,” Fauci told Reuters, noting that there are no guarantees of compliance.
His comments were preceded by promising preliminary data published on Tuesday about the Moderna vaccine, which is being developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases, headed by Fauci.
Many experts see a safe and effective vaccine as the only salvation from a virus that has infected millions of people and killed more than 575,000 people.
Fauci noted that the Moderna vaccine promises that it provides protection similar to that seen with natural infection.
“When developing a vaccine, you hope, in particular, that it will cause a reaction comparable to a natural infection, because, theoretically, the best vaccine you can get is a natural infection,” he said.
The final stage of clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine begins on July 27.
President Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies criticized Fauci for warning against opening up the American economy too quickly.
When asked how it handles these attacks, Fauci told Reuters: “I try not to let it bother me.”
“Our work with vaccines, the development of therapeutic methods, clinical trials – that’s what important,” he added.
The prospect did not faze Fauci that China, which is also working on getting a vaccine, will cross the finish line first. He said he hoped China would succeed, but suggested they would not emerge victorious in the race for the vaccine, or at least not by a large margin.
“I think everyone is going about the same way, – he said. – If they get to the end, they won’t be much faster than we are.” That’s for sure.”
He expressed hope that, in the end, several candidate vaccines will be successful.
“I’m not worried about someone getting there first,” he stressed.
Fauci noted that even if the vaccine does trigger an immune response, it is unclear how long this protection will last.
“There are questions that are not yet answered because it has only been six months since the beginning of the epidemic,” he said.
According to him, it may take a year to clarify the question of the immune response.
A recent Reuters poll showed that a quarter of Americans doubt the feasibility of vaccination, fearing that the record pace of vaccine development may be achieved at the expense of its safety.
Fauci said he was aware of such concerns.
“They can be understood, but they are not justified,” he said.” We do not sacrifice security; we do not sacrifice scientific validity.”