Anthony Fauci — the United States' lead expert on infectious disease — says there might be a safe way to distribute a viable coronavirus vaccine earlier than we thought, according to a Tuesday interview with Kaiser Health News.
Coronavirus vaccine could be distributed 'right now,' says Fauci
In the interview, Fauci said the Data and Safety Monitoring Board — which consists of independent experts who analyze and evaluate the safety of vaccine development — could justifiably claim that "the data is so good right now that you can say it's safe and effective," reports Futurism.
This means researchers could close the coronavirus vaccine trials and begin distributing it to the general public.
As of writing, three coronavirus vaccines have advanced to late-stage large-scale trials in the U.S., reports CNN — including the well-known pharmaceutical company Moderna.
Fauci unconcerned about 'political pressure' of early vaccine
Fauci was adamant throughout Tuesday's interview. "If you are making a decision about the vaccine, you'd better be sure you have very good evidence that it is both safe and effetive," said Fauci. "I'm not concerned about political pressure."
However, health experts are less ready to make claims about when a coronavirus vaccine may be distributed. Some say closing trials early will lead to serious safety risks, CNN reports.
Fauci is more optimistic about the situation — adding that he thinks we might make rapid progress before 2020 ends.
"I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year that we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine," he said to NBC on Wednesday.
Flu season nears after coronavirus devastates economy
With flu season quickly approaching, Fauci may also be pushing to make sure the nation is prepared to handle a more common health issue. "What I'd really like to see is a full court press to get us way down as a baseline, so that when you get these cases in the fall, they won't surge up," added Fauci.
As virtually every industry sector of the world economy fights to stay on its feet, and with roughly 185,000 people dead from the COVID-19 illness that comes with coronavirus infection, no one would object to an early-release of a viable vaccine — so long as it's actually safe.
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