US health advisor Anthony Fauci is ‘cautiously optimistic’ of Covid-19 vaccine by early 2021

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 19, 2020

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US   -  REUTERS

‘Till US govt must concentrate on contract tracing’

The United States Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci reiterated his stance that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine against Covid-19 will be available to Americans by the end of this year or early 2021, as per the Healthline report.

Fauci was addressing an event hosted by the Healthline on Tuesday.

He said: “The preliminary Phase I studies are producing a level of neutralising antibodies that’s at least as good as what you see with convalescent plasma...That’s a good predictor that things will go well. There are always potholes and bumps in the road, but there are three candidates in the Phase III trial. One, likely by the end of this year, we will know whether it’s safe and effective.”

He suggested the US administration focus on contract tracing efforts until the vaccine is discovered.

Fauci believes that with the need to prove safety and efficacy, a vaccine is never guaranteed. But early results on a number of different vaccine candidates have been encouraging.

Russia vaccine

Commenting on Russia’s vaccine against the novel virus, Fauci said that there is scant evidence on the vaccine’s efficacy.

“To say you have a vaccine, I could say we have six vaccines, but I wouldn’t give them to someone outside of a clinical trial,” he said.

“If the vaccine is found effective, you have a leg up on the doses, so you’ve saved a lot of time without the safety risks,” Fauci added.

“If it’s not safe and effective you’ve wasted a lot of money. But that’s the federal government’s investment to make things go more quickly. By the end of the year there should be limited doses,” he said.

‘Elderly first’

He suggested that the first doses of the vaccine should be rolled out for the elderly and people with co-morbidities as the risk of getting critically ill from the virus looms over their heads.

He also mentioned that the country will be successful in containing the virus only when the percentage of positive tests go down to levels now seen in New York City, where positive cases are around 1 per cent.

“That’s where you want the whole country to be,” he added.

Published on August 19, 2020

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