In his Tuesday testimony before a Senate committee, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed that the National Institutes of Health hope to know if a key coronavirus vaccine candidate is effective and safe by late fall or early winter.
Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, appeared remotely at his first appearance before Congress since March to provide a timeline for vaccine development as states attempt to determine safe ways to reopen their economies amid the pandemic. In his testimony, Fauci said there were currently eight vaccines in development from multiple candidates, which he compared to "multiple shots on goal." He continued, "This is important, because this will be good for global availability if we have more than one successful candidate."
Fauci says he hopes to know by "late fall and early winter" if coronavirus vaccines trials are successful, potentially beating his prediction that a vaccine could take up to 18 months https://t.co/OxeN3yh9Q7 pic.twitter.com/tbs3uV8ge9— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 12, 2020
Fauci originally said in January that it would be between a year and 18 months before vaccine efficacy and safety could be determined, which is a timeline he maintained in Tuesday's testimony. The vaccines are currently in a phase one clinical trial, with animal safety tests and phases two and three expected to begin in late spring or early summer. "If we are successful, we hope to know that in the late fall and early winter," he said. In the meantime, it is important not to open up states too soon, which he told The New York Times prior to his remarks would "result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal."
In his opening statement during Tuesday's testing, Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said "staying at home indefinitely" is not the solution to the pandemic, calling for millions of more tests in addition to better tracking, treatment and isolation efforts in addition to an eventual vaccine, as per CBS News.
Ranking Member Patty Murray in her opening statement criticized President Donald Trump for choosing to "ignore the facts, and ignore the experts who have been clear we are nowhere close to where we need to be to reopen safely." Murray likewise called for a national testing system as well as more personal protective equipment available to health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus battle.