The head of the government’s effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19 says he expects the vaccine to have efficacy levels “in the 90% range” – but that there may not be enough vaccines available to all Americans by the end of the year. next year.
“I think it will be a very effective vaccine. That is my prediction,” 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 very effective. I will not be surprised if it is at 90% [range]. ”
Slaoui, an immunologist, previously headed the vaccine program at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led the development of the novel’s top five vaccines.
He said there would be enough vaccines for all Americans “ideally” by mid-2021, but probably not by the end of 2021.
Slaoui spoke Thursday with senior CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen while visiting a clinical testing site for Covid-19 vaccines in Savannah, Georgia. It was his first television interview since joining Operation Warp Speed in May.
When will there be a vaccine for everyone?
In June, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave Cohen a less optimistic prediction about the efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The best we have ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. “It would be great if we could get there. I don’t think we will [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine ”.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set an even lower standard for a Covid-19 vaccine, saying in its guidelines that the efficacy rate “should be at least 50%.”
Vaccines have different degrees of effectiveness. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a full round of polio vaccines is 99% to 100% effective; complete vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis is 80-90% effective, while influenza vaccination is 40-60% effective.
Slaoui added that with a Covid-19 vaccine, “it is possible that we will need a booster” after the initial vaccination “every year or every two years or every three years”.
Slaoui said he expects that “we may have several tens of millions of doses” of the vaccine in December of this year or January of next year, and that they would go to high-risk individuals because “we will not have doses for the population of full American on the first day “
High-risk individuals include the elderly and those with underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Slaoui said he is “optimistic” there will be vaccines for all Americans by the end of 2021, but ideally by mid-2021.
“This is our goal,” he said.
Records of vaccines moving at the pace of records
Operation Warp Speed is funding eight vaccines, Slaoui said.
Five of them are already in phase 3 clinical trials or will begin by the end of September, he said. A stage 3 trial is the final round of testing before a vaccine goes before regulators and can be marketed. Phase 3 trials of the Covid-19 vaccine will include 30,000 subjects each.
“They are all different vaccines. They are actually going very fast,” Slaoui said, noting that the virus was identified only six months ago. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and the fastest thing I can remember that went from discovery to Phase Three trials was in four years.”
Vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer are in Phase 3 in the United States, and a vaccine from AstraZeneca is in Phase 3 trials in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials for that vaccine are expected to begin in August in the US
Phase 3 trials of vaccines made by two other companies – Johnson & Johnson and Novavax – are scheduled to begin in September, he added.
Slaoui did not mention the other three vaccines that will receive funding from Operation Warp Speed.
Video: Here’s what Fauci thinks about the latest vaccine trial (CNN)