The head of the government’s effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19 says he expects the vaccine to have “90%” efficacy rates – but that there may not be enough vaccine available. for all Americans by the end of next year. .
“I think it will be a very effective vaccine. That’s my prediction,” said Moncef Slaoui, chief consultant of Operation Warp Speed. “My personal opinion based on my experience and the biology of this virus, I think this vaccine will be very efficient. I would not be surprised if it is at 90% [range]”
Slaoui, an immunologist, previously led the vaccine program at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led the development of five new major vaccines.
He said there would be enough vaccine for all Americans “ideally” by mid-2021, but possibly not by the end of 2021.
Slaoui spoke Thursday with senior CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen while touring the Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial site 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 for the effectiveness of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. “That would be wonderful if we got there. I don’t think we will. I solve [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine. ”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set an even lower standard for a vaccine against Covid-19, which states 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; The full vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis is 80 to 90% effective, while the flu is 40 to 60% effective.
Slaoui added that with a vaccine against Covid-19, “it’s possible we’ll need a booster” after the initial vaccination “every year or every two or three years.”
Slaoui said he expects “we will probably have a few tens of millions of doses” of a vaccine in December this year or January next year, and those will go to high-risk individuals because “We won’t have doses for the entire U.S. population 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.
“That’s our goal,” he said.
Vaccine trials are moving at a record pace
Operation Warp Speed is funding eight vaccines, Slaoui said.
Five of those are already in Phase 3 clinical trials or will begin by the end of September, he said. A phase 3 trial is the last series of tests before a vaccine goes before regulators, and can be placed on the market. The Povid-19 Covid-19 vaccine trials will involve 30,000 study subjects.
“These are all different vaccines. They’re actually going very fast,” Slaoui said, noting that the virus was identified just six months ago. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and the fastest thing I can ever remember going from discovery to Third Phase trials was in four years.”
The 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 United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials for that vaccine are expected to begin in August in the United States.
Phase 3 trials for 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)