A huge international study of a COVID-19 vaccine that aims to work with just one dose is getting underway.
Hopes are high that answers about at least one of several candidates being tested in the U.S. could come by year’s end, maybe sooner.
“We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told a Senate committee.
As for the testing of vaccine candidates, Fauci added: “There is no cutting corners.”
On Wednesday President Donald Trump tweeted a link to news about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine study and said the Food and Drug Administration “must move quickly!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2020
A handful of vaccines already are in final testing in the U.S. and other countries, but the newest late-stage study by Johnson & Johnson aims to enroll 60,000 volunteers, one of the most so far, to test if its single-dose approach is safe and protects against the coronavirus. Other candidates in the U.S. require two shots.
Earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence urged state governors to “do your part to build public confidence that it will be a safe and effective vaccine.”
Even if the FDA were to allow use of a vaccine by year’s end, supplies would be limited and given first to vulnerable groups such as health workers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants states to get ready now to roll out vaccinations. CDC announced Wednesday the distribution of $200 million to help begin setting up operations.
J&J’s vaccine is made with slightly different technology than others in late-stage testing, modeled on an Ebola vaccine the company created.
Despite the later start than some competitors, Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, told reporters that the study was large enough to yield answers possibly by early next year.
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