By the end of the year, the United States should have 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Anthony Fawcett, said Tuesday.
“Then, by the beginning of 2021, we expect to receive a few million doses,” Fawcett said during a question-and-answer session with the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Fawcett said the first vaccine candidate to be created by the biotech company Moderna in partnership with NIAID will have to go through the final stages of testing volunteers, known as the third-tier industry, in mid-summer. He said preparations are already underway at national and international sites.
“Hopefully the real business of all this will be the completion of the third phase which will start in the first week of July, hopefully,” Fawcett said. “We want to get as many data points as possible.”
The third phase will involve about 30,000 people. The vaccine will be tested in people aged 18 to 55, as well as in the elderly and those with a health condition.
“It’s going to be the whole spectrum,” Fawcett said.
Fawcett said the second phase of the trial began a few days ago. Hundreds of volunteers will be part of the test.
Foussi said there were plans to create a dose of the vaccine before it was clear whether the vaccines worked, Fawcett said. So if it works, it can be deployed quickly.
Scientists need to have enough information by November or December to determine if the vaccine works, Fawcett said.
The ongoing AstraZeneca trial in the UK will follow a similar schedule. He added that a handful of other vaccine studies should begin one to two months later, he said.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we have different platforms with multiple test takers, we have a vaccine that will make it miserable,” Fawcett said. He is optimistic, he said, because while the death toll from Covid-19 is “deep”, people are largely free of the disease. Recovery shows that there is an immunity that can clear the virus.
“Which tells us that if the body is able to build up immunity to clear the virus of natural infections, that’s a very good proof of the concept,” Fausi said. “There is no guarantee even after saying this.”
Fawcett said he was a little worried about the sustainability of the response. People develop antibodies to fight common colds caused by other strains of coronavirus, but this protection usually lasts about a year. This could mean that people will need a new vaccine every year, as is the case with influenza.