Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Noted American physician and immunologist Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci is “cautiously optimistic” on the availability of a COVID19 vaccine by 2021.
Fauci, said to be among the world’s most trusted infectious disease experts, expressed his opinion over the video interview “Special Report: Coronavirus in Context” with WebMD chief medical officer Dr. John Whyte; a full transcript of which was emailed to Gulf Today.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was asked of other COVID19-related topics wherein he pointed out that all age categories must do their share in continually practising all preventive measures against the upper respiratory tract problem because “not caring means you are propagating the pandemic.”
Among Trump’s advisers on the global outbreak, Fauci was enquired about his confidence in the availability of a “safe and effective vaccine within the next few months” as interviewer Whyte referred to a statement by a top official of a global drug company on “the vaccine hype doing a disservice to the public.”
Fauci mentioned about a Phase III trial but first said, “Well, I would not say the next few months. But let me tell you what the timetable is. I would not call it a hype. I think what it is, is utilising the current 21st century technology, platform technology that we have, to really make advances quickly in ways that would have taken years before that now takes weeks to months.
“And we have already shown that by going from the sequence of the virus in early January when it was put on a public database, to go literally, within days, into a vaccine trial, because you could put it into an mRNA platform or another platform.
“And then 62 days later, enter a Phase I trial. That is an amazingly unprecedented in every respect.”
On the Phase III clinical trial, he said, “Right now, we are going to go into a Phase III trial at the end of July. And there are several candidates that are also lined up to go into a Phase III trial soon thereafter. Yes, at least four candidates.”
Fauci cautioned though about the guarantee “because we know we cannot guarantee it; but we can be pretty optimistic that we are in a timeline that we should know by the end of this calendar year, the beginning of 2021, whether we have a safe and effective vaccine.”
He countered the “hype” statement, claiming that based on the preliminary data of the immunogenicity (ability of a foreign body to evoke an immune response), “robust levels of neutralizing antibodies even with moderate dose of the vaccine” have been recorded from Phase I clinical trials.
“We are seeing a roughly similar pattern everywhere — I suspect we have more immunity than estimated,” Professor Karol Sikora, who previously directed the WHO’s cancer programme, said.
About a dozen vaccines are in different stages of human tests globally, as the World Health Organization warns the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating and "the world is in a new and dangerous phase".
The world’s Phase III clinical trial of two COVID-19 vaccines, a partnership between the G24 Healthcare in Abu Dhabi and the Sinopharm CNBG (China National Biotec Group) is a silver lining and UAE residents are looking forward to the finality of the pandemic by 2021.
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