As people anxiously await new developments about potential COVID-19 vaccines, questions remain mainly on whether or not it will be sufficient.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the main goal of an initial vaccine would be to prevent symptoms in those who test positive for the virus rather than blocking the infection completely, Web MD reports.
“The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill,” Fauci said.
Fauci explained how preventing symptoms is a “primary endpoint” in the process of developing a vaccine. As for getting rid of the virus, he is considering it a “secondary endpoint.”
“If the vaccine also allows you to prevent initial infection, that would be great. What I would settle for, and all of my colleagues would settle for, is the primary endpoint to prevent clinically recognizable disease,” he said. “And that’s what we hope happens, and if we do, that will go a long way to diffusing this very difficult crisis that we’re in.”
As for a time for the vaccine, Fauci predicted that by early December experts would know whether a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. However, the doctor said that widespread availability would probably not happen until next year.
“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, beginning of December,” Fauci said. “The amount of doses that will be available in December will not certainly be enough to vaccinate everybody -- you’ll have to wait several months into 2021.”
Fauci added that the vaccination of a “substantial proportion of the population” that could have a “significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak” may not be possible until mid-April.
As for the present day, even though COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country, Fauci is not ready to support a national lockdown.