Washington: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top expert on infectious diseases, expressed “cautious” optimism in Congress Friday that a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 will available this fall or early winter.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, testified in the House that a vaccine could be developed by the end of the year.
Fauci cited a 30,000-patient clinical trial by Moderna that began Monday.
“We are cautiously optimistic that this will be successful,” he said of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 candidate.
Fauci said his optimism is based on results from earlier phases of the Moderna trial that “clearly showed that individuals who were vaccinated mounted a neutralizing antibody response that was at least comparable, and in many respects, than what we see in convalescent [blood] serum.”
Fauci said earlier this week that parts of the United States can’t afford another surge of cases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director and Dr. Robert Redfield and Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, also appeared Friday before the House oversight committee’s coronavirus subcommittee.