Fauci says ‘hundreds of millions’ of coronavirus vaccine doses could be ready as soon as January under ‘operation warp speed’
- Fauci told Today that as many as hundreds of millions of doses could be ready in less than a year
- The government has not yet nailed one down but there are several companies working on it
- Fauci said a vaccine will likely begin manufacturing before it has been proven to work and be made on ‘the assumption’ that it does
- At the point it is proven to be effective, the production will ramp up
- It comes amid growing optimism over the drug remdesivir which helps patients recover 31 % faster
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Dr. Fauci said on Thursday that ‘hundreds of millions’ of coronavirus vaccines could become available as soon as January next year and that there are private companies expeditiously trying to produce them now.
In an interview with Today, he said: ‘You always have to say you want a vaccine that is safe and effective and that you can scale it up rapidly.
‘What is the plan right now? We’re in the early phases of a trial, phase one. When you go into the next phase, were going to safely and carefully but as quickly as we possibly can try and get an answer as to whether it works and is safe.
‘If so, we’re going to start ramping up production and you do that at risk. You don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing, you at risk, start making it assuming it’s going to work and if it does, then you can scale up and hopefully get to that timeline,’ he said.
At the start of the pandemic, he said the vaccine would not be ready for a year to 18 months.
On Thursday he said that he made those comments ‘in January or February’, so it made sense for him to now say they would be ready in just eight months.
The White House has launched what it is calling Operation Warp Speed to find a safe and effective vaccine and get it to scale quickly.
Companies Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Oxford University are among those that have already started preparing for producing millions of doses.
It came amid growing optimism over the drug remdesivir which helps patients recover 31 % faster.
The FDA is looking to approve it as early as Thursday.
An effective vaccine is what the world is waiting for to feel truly safe from the virus.
In the meantime, treatments like remdesivir could hold the answer to restarting the economy while still applying mitigation measures like social distancing and frequent hand washing to try to slow the spread as much as possible.
In the United States, more than one million people have tested positive and more than 61,000 have died.
The study was government sponsored and involved more than 1,000 patients taking part around the world. It showed that those who were given remdesivir recovered 31 percent faster than the patients who received a placebo drug.
On Wednesday night, Fauci heralded the trial results as ‘really quite important’.
‘The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.
‘Although a 31 percent improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is very important proof of concept.
‘What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,’ he said.
In an interview on Thursday with Today, he said that while the drug was not a ‘total solution’, it was an important ‘first step’ in the right direction.
‘This is the first very highly powered, placebo controlled randomized trial which is really the gold standard of how you prove something is safe or either works or doesn’t work.
‘Although the results were clearly positive from a statistical stand point, they were modest.
‘That’s important but it’s the first step in what we project will be better and better drugs coming along, either alone or in combination drugs of this type and drugs addressing other targets of the virus
‘It’s good news but this is not the total answer by any means but it’s a very important first step.