Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress Tuesday he is "cautiously optimistic" a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus could be available by the end of the year, or the beginning of 2021. The update from the nation's top infectious disease expert occurred during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We feel cautiously optimistic, based on the concerted effort and the fact we are taking financial risks — not risks to safety, not risks to the integrity of the science, but financial risk to be able to be ahead of the game — so that when, and I believe it will be when and not if, we get favorable candidates with good results, we will be able to make them available to the American public,” Fauci testified.
“It would put us at the end of this calendar year and the beginning of 2021,” he said.
One potential vaccine that shows "some very favorable responses" in animal models will enter a Phase 3 study in July, Fauci said. The trial, led by the biotech firm Moderna, is expected to begin giving small doses of the vaccine to about 30,000 people.
Other promising vaccines are a few months behind, he said.
But Fauci warned the coronavirus crisis was far from over, citing COVID-19 spikes in states that have reopened public life.
New York City, which previously had the nation's highest number of infections, has mitigated the virus spread as it begins a limited reopening, he said.
“However, in other areas we are seeing a disturbing surge of infections,” Fauci told the House panel.
"Right now the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states,” Fauci said. “They are not the only ones having difficulty. Bottom line, it is a mixed bag.”