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Fauci Downplays Virus Shot Before Election, Countering Trump

Sept. 8, 2020, 6:25 PM

It’s “unlikely” a Covid-19 vaccine will be available to the public by Nov. 3, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.

“The only way you can see that scenario come true is that there are so many infections at clinical trial sites you get an efficacy answer earlier than you expected,” he said during a Research!America panel. “It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely.”

Fauci’s comments run counter to the optimism leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have about a vaccine’s timeline. The CDC sent a letter to state leaders in August asking that they be ready to distribute “limited doses” of a vaccine as early as Nov. 1. Fauci has said repeatedly he’s “cautiously optimistic” a virus vaccine will be available by the end of the year or in early 2021.

President Donald Trump claims a vaccine could be ready sooner, which has skeptics worried about politics influencing the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory decisions. FDA leader Stephen Hahn pledged that the agency will rely on data and science when making decisions about a Covid-19 vaccine, and pharmaceutical companies made similar pledges Tuesday.

There will be “multiple layers and checkpoints” when deciding whether a vaccine should be made public, Fauci said. So far, researchers are “on track” as far as data transparency initiatives go, Fauci said. He added virus vaccine trials still need more minority participation.

“We want to make sure when we say something is safe and effective that it’s safe and effective for everyone,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacquie Lee in Washington at jlee1@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Childers at achilders@bloomberglaw.com

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