Moncef Slaoui, who is running the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed programme, said that he is hopeful that drug makers will file for FDA emergency use authorisation (EUA) of their COVID-19 vaccines by late November and immunisation in high-risk populations could begin this year, as reported MarketWatch on Thursday.
He also hopes the vaccines may be more effective in clinical trials than previously assumed, noting that "my expectation is really something between 80% and 90% efficacy."
"I would be very negatively surprised if it was closer to 50%," he said, adding that "everything we see, including the recent data by Lilly and Regeneron with monoclonal antibody transfer, suggested robust efficacy can be achieved."
"Never ever before has an effort of this proportion been made and vaccines been developed in a period of less than a year," Slaoui said.
He further noted that "I expect the EUA filing to happen three [or] four weeks after that moment of when we know the vaccine is efficacious, maybe if we work like crazy we make it happen in two weeks."
"Between November and January, we will have enough vaccines to immunise, I would say, 80 to 100 million people, which represents all the elderly people, the healthcare workers, the first line workers. After that, we start to immunise the less risky populations," Slaoui said.
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