White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said it’s unlikely a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by Election Day, but said he’s optimistic one will be proven safe and effective by the end of the year.
“The only way you can see that scenario come true is if there are so many infections in the clinical trial sites that you get an efficacy answer sooner than you would have projected” Fauci said during the Research! America 2020 National Health Research Forum, according to CNN.
“It’s unlikely that we’ll have a definitive answer at that time,” he said. “More likely by the end of the year.”
Three vaccine candidates in the U.S. are currently in large-scale phase three clinical trials. Several other health experts have projected a vaccine will likely be made available before the end of the year to high risk groups, such as the elderly, those with underlying conditions and health workers on the front lines. Widespread distribution of a vaccine is expected in mid-2021.
“You have a lot of candidates in play, which really is the reason why we’re optimistic that we will be successful with one or more, and that will likely start taking place by the end of the calendar year 2020,” the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said.
Fauci’s comments come after President Trump on Monday continued to assert that his administration could deliver a vaccine before the Nov. 3 election.
“We’re going to have a vaccine very soon. Maybe even before a very special date. You know what date I’m talking about,” Trump said during a news briefing Monday.
But Trump isn’t the only one predicting a safe and effective vaccine could come before early November.
U.S. drug giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech recently estimated their vaccine could be ready for regulatory approval by mid-October or early November.
“We believe that we have a safe product and we believe that we will be able to show efficacy,” BioNTech CEO and co-found Ugur Sahin told CNN Tuesday.
Pfizer and BioNTech plan to provide 100 million doses of their vaccine, BNT162, by the end of the year.