The immunologist said “cautiously optimistic” about the development of research on a vaccine against Covid-19 and added that a strict “re-inclusion” in the US does not seem necessary.
The vaccine race continues. Donald Trump’s government announced on Wednesday, August 5, a new $ 1 billion investment in the Covid-19 vaccine project from the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. The group had already received $ 456 million by the end of March. The new billion will fund a large-scale demonstration project to manufacture its experimental vaccine, with the promised delivery of 100 million doses, if the vaccine proves to be effective.
Provided the vaccines are licensed, the US could theoretically receive 100 million doses from four groups (Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer / BioNTech, Sanofi / GSK) and 300 million doses from Oxford / AstraZeneca. This latest alliance, in negotiations with other countries, contains in particular 400 million doses for the European Union.
But the competition for the vaccine requires that production be started in parallel with clinical trials and possibly with a loss, even before one knows whether the vaccine is effective. In the United States, the final phase of clinical trials was launched in late July, a record time “that would have been unthinkable a decade ago,” Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute for Infectious Diseases, which handles the trial, said Wednesday during an exchange organized by Harvard.
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The doctor hopes to recruit 30,000 participants within three months, half of whom will receive a placebo. We will then have to wait to see if the placebo group is naturally more infected with Covid-19 than the vaccinated group. “My estimate, which is just an estimate, is that by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021, we will know if we have a safe and effective vaccine,” says Dr. Fauci.
“I am cautiously optimistic about our success,” he added, due to the immune response generated by the vaccine in studies on a small number of volunteers since March. “Historically, if we develop a vaccine with a moderate to high degree of efficacy, and if we combine it with prudent public health measures, we should [cette crise]behind us, ”he adds.
Processing was considered unnecessary, according to Dr. Fauci
Regarding the course of the epidemic, the immunologist said on Wednesday that he did not believe that a “re-inclusion” would be needed in the United States. “It is not necessary to completely limit or on the contrary release all brakes. There is a happy medium where you can open [l’économie et les relations sociales]with caution, he said in an interview with Reuters.
The US government has also spent billions on building production facilities, on companies that manufacture syringes and vials that will be required to distribute the future vaccine, not to mention support for the development of treatments.
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Thus, the United States purchased almost all production of antiviral drug remdesivir until September, the first to show a relative advantage for Covid-19 patients.
With AFP and Reuters