Dr Anthony Fauci has said that by the end of this year, government scientists should know whether they have a safe and effective vaccine for coronavirus. Fauci is among top officials testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions committee on Wednesday.
As the government's leading infectious disease expert, Fauci has been a realist about the dangers of the coronavirus but also optimistic about the prospects for a vaccine. He said people who recover from the virus develop antibodies against it, giving him confidence a vaccine that triggers the immune system will work.
Fauci said several kinds of vaccines are in final-stage testing in the US. A single-dose candidate is the most recent trial, which requires thousands of volunteers.
Fauci's comments came on the day Johnson & Johnson said it was entering the final Phase 3 stage of its Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial following positive results in earlier stages. The trial will seek to enroll up to 60,000 volunteers across more than 200 sites in the US and around the world, the company and the US National Institutes for Health (NIH), which is providing funding, said.
With the move, J&J becomes the tenth maker globally to conduct a Phase 3 trial against Covid-19, and the fourth in the US.
The company, which is developing the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis through its subsidiary Janssen, said it anticipated the drug would be ready for emergency approval by early 2021 if proven safe and effective.