America’s top infectious diseases expert says it could be known by Christmas whether a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective to use.
Anthony Fauci, a senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, told The Times that three vaccines would be tested under the White House’s plan.
The plan was to deliver 300 doses by January.
The pandemic has killed more than 839,000 people worldwide since surfacing in China late last year, and more than 24.8 million cases have been registered. The United States has recorded the highest number of deaths with 181,779.
Dr Fauci said the high infection rates across the US meant data on a safe vaccine should be available by December.
“I would not be satisfied until a vaccine was proven to be safe and effective, before it was actually approved for general use,” Dr Fauci said.
Trials are under way for two vaccines in the US, with 15,000 Americans enrolled for each trial.
“The way the pace of the enrolment is going on and the level of the infections that are going on in the United States, it is likely that we’ll get an answer by the end of the year,” Dr Fauci said.
“I would say a safe bet is at least knowing that you have a safe and effective vaccine by November, December.”
On Friday, US President Donald Trump pledges to “crush” the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepts the Republican nomination for a second term.
Mr Trump sought to portray his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States as a success, although it has left some 180,000 people dead in the United States, more than any other country in the world.
Very few of the more than 1000 guests who attended Mr Trump’s speech on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday wore masks and social distancing was not enforced during the event.
Mr Trump has been frequently accused of failing to heed the guidance of his scientific advisors in managing the pandemic but he tried to level the same accusation against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country,” Mr Trump said.
“His shutdown would inflict unthinkable and lasting harm on our nation’s children, families, and citizens of all backgrounds.
“Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender.”
With his re-election hopes pinned to some extent on defeating the virus and restoring normalcy, Mr Trump promised that a vaccine is within sight.
“We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” he said. “We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic, and emerge stronger than ever before.” According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com, 58.0 percent of Americans disapprove of Mr Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis while 38.9 percent approve.