White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci said that a COVID-19 vaccine likely won’t be “widely available” to the American public until “several months” into 2021, reported CNBC.
Fauci said health officials and scientists expect to know whether at least one of the vaccines in development is safe and effective by the end of December or early next year.
“It is likely that at the beginning of next year we would have tens of millions of doses available,” he said, adding that some companies have predicted more doses than that. “I think as we get into 2021, several months in, that you would have vaccines that would be widely available.”
Although drugmakers are working to make millions of doses of vaccines, there’s a chance the vaccine could require two doses, limiting the number of people who can get vaccinated once it becomes available, experts noted.
Researchers say questions remain about how the body responds once it has been infected with the virus, which could have important implications for vaccine development. One critical question is whether antibodies produced in response to the virus offer protection against reinfection. A recent study in Nature Medicine found that antibodies may last only two to three months after a person is infected.
Fauci said they need more information in terms of antibodies, adding that there may be other aspects of the immune response, like T cells, that may play a role in protection against the virus. “We are only six months into the outbreak,” he said. “Since we are only six months into it, we don’t know how long [antibodies] last in most of the people. But the fact is ... that there are some people where antibodies only last a short period of time. We need to know what that means.”
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