The head of government’s effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19 says he expects the vaccine to have efficacy rates “within the range of 90%,” but there may not be enough vaccine available for all North Americans. Americans until the end of next year. .
“I think it will be a very effective vaccine. That is my forecast,” said Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed. “My personal opinion based on my experience and the biology of this virus, I think this vaccine will be highly effective. I would not be surprised if it reaches 90% [range]”.
Slaoui, an immunologist, led the vaccine program at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led the development of five major new vaccines.
He said there would be enough vaccine for all Americans “ideally” by mid-2021, but possibly not until the end of 2021.
Slaoui spoke Thursday with senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who visited a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial site in Savannah, Georgia. It was his first television interview since joining Warp Speed Operation in May.
When will there be a vaccine for everyone?
In June, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave Cohen a less optimistic forecast for the effectiveness of a vaccine against Covid-19.
“The best thing we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It would be wonderful if we got there. I don’t think we would. I would settle for [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine “.
The US Food and Drug Administration has set an even lower standard for a vaccine against Covid-19, stating in its guidelines that the efficacy rate “should be at least 50%”.
Vaccines have various rates of effectiveness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a full round of polio vaccines is 99% to 100% effective; Complete vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough is 80-90% effective, while the flu vaccine is 40-60% effective.
Slaoui added that with a vaccine against Covid-19, “we may need a booster” after the initial vaccination “every year or every two years or every three years.”
Slaoui said he expects to “probably have a few tens of millions of doses” of vaccine in December this year or January next year, and that they would target high-risk individuals because “we won’t have doses for the entire population of the United States. the first day “.
High-risk individuals include the elderly and people with underlying diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Slaoui said he is “optimistic” that there will be vaccines for all Americans by the end of 2021, but ideally by mid-2021.
“That’s our goal,” he said.
Vaccine testing advancing at a record pace
Operation Warp Speed is funding eight vaccines, Slaoui said.
Five of them are already in the classic phase of clinical trials or will begin in late September, he said. A phase 3 trial is the last round of testing before a vaccine goes before regulators and can be put on the market. Phase 3 trials of the Covid-19 vaccine will each include 30,000 study subjects.
“They’re all different vaccines. They actually go really fast,” Slaoui said, though the virus was identified at just six months old. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and the fastest I’ve been able to remember that was from the discovery to the Phase Three trials was in four years.”
Vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer are in Phase 3 of the United States and a vaccine by AstraZeneca is made in Phase 3 tests in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials of this vaccine are expected to begin in August in the United States.
Phase 3 trials for vaccines conducted by two more companies – Johnson & Johnson and Novavax – are scheduled for September, he added.
Slaoui did not name the other three vaccines that will receive funding from Operation Warp Speed.
Video: Here’s what Fauci thinks about the latest vaccination process (CNN)