Don’t expect a coronavirus vaccine before the election — here’s the likely timeline according to doctors, government officials, and analysts

Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial participant

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The answer to one of the biggest questions of the year — when a coronavirus vaccine be ready? — differs depending on who you ask.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told public-health officials in every state to prepare for vaccine distribution by November 1. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said the goal was to get ahead of the game, since the agency expects one or more vaccines to be ready by November or December.

President Donald Trump has also suggested that a vaccine may become available “right around” the election on November 3.

“We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1,” Trump said during a White House news conference on Friday. “We think we can probably have it sometime during the month of October.”

But public-health experts say there’s little hope of a vaccine being ready before the end of the year, let alone before the election.

On Tuesday, the CEOs of nine pharmaceutical companies issued a rare joint pledge promising to put safety before speed when developing a vaccine. The companies vowed to only apply for emergency FDA approval after demonstrating that their vaccines were safe and effective through a phase 3 trial — a vaccine’s final test before it can be distributed to the public.

Under the most optimistic scenario, drug companies could release positive results from phase 3 trials in October. Pfizer and Moderna have each said that’s a possibility.

But when it comes to rolling out that vaccine, most experts agree that it won’t happen until 2021. Here’s the most likely timeline according to government officials, public-health experts, and Wall Street analysts.

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What government officials anticipate: a widely available vaccine in mid-2021

The US is lining up an army of vaccine candidates. Through Operation Warp Speed, the government is funding the manufacturing of six promising candidates in large quantities while clinical trials are still ongoing. The program hopes to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine by January 2021.

So far, three drug companies in that program — AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer — have shown in early data that their vaccines generated immune responses without causing serious side effects. But AstraZeneca just paused its phase 3 trial due to a potential adverse reaction in a UK participant.

Moderna and Pfizer’s phase 3 trials both started in July and are slated to include 30,000 volunteers. As of last week, Pfizer said it had enrolled 23,000 people, while Moderna had enrolled more than 21,000.

Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told NPR last week that it was “extremely unlikely but not impossible” for those trials to finish by the end of October. A more realistic estimate, he said, is that a vaccine would become available for high-risk populations, including healthcare workers and people 70 years or older, by the end of 2020. By that time, the US could have enough capacity to immunize between 20 and …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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