Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, believes that the government could develop a vaccine and have it in mass production by January.
“We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it’s safe and it’s effective,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday. “I think that is doable if things fall in the right place.”
Asked by host Savannah Guthrie whether hundreds of millions of doses could be ready by January, Fauci said that’s a possible timeline.
Competition across the research community in the western world is as intense as anything that’s gone before it. A vaccine to innoculate billions of people? One can imagine that companies sponsoring much of that research know they’re in a race, the rewards for the winner, incalculable.
The competition is pushing innovation forward. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
There is still the question of government approval, but that, too, will be on the fast track.
Fauci said the developmental timeline would be accelerated to come up with a vaccine.
“If so, we’re going to start ramping up production with the companies involved, and you do that at risk,” he said. “In other words, you don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing. You, at risk, proactively start making it, assuming that it’s gonna work. And if it does, then you can scale up and hopefully get to that timeline.”
The goal of “Operation Warp Speed” is to have 300 million doses of a vaccine ready by January, Bloomberg reported.
The process to develop and make the vaccine may be inefficient and wasteful, but if you’re not worried about the billions of misspent dollars on dry holes and wrong turns, it makes a lot of sense.
The Bloomberg report said that to get around the typical slow developmental process, government resources will quickly test experimental vaccines in animals before beginning clinical trials on humans.
The most promising vaccines would go into wider trials even as their production would escalate.
A vaccine usually has to be 95 percent effective with minimal side effects before the FDA approves it. They will probably accept less than that number for the coronavirus. The first to get inoculated will be those most at risk; the elderly, the sick, and those whose immune systems have been compromised.
Beyond that, it will be an individual’s decision whether to get vaccinated.
Eventually, we’ll know a lot more about the coronavirus. Why do some people sicken and die while others show no symptoms at all? Can you be reinfected? How exactly does it spread?
But we don’t need answers to those questions to defeat the virus. We just need a vaccine that will help our bodies kill it if it infects us.
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