Just as the world anxiously awaits the arrival of a coronavirus vaccine to get back to normal, the White House health advisor Dr Anthony Fauci has cast doubts on the vaccine being effective against the virus even once it is developed.
Testifying before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday about the road to resuming the economy, Dr Fauci said, “There’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective.”
The somber warning is based on the nature and behavior of such elusive viruses as the novel coronavirus. Given the way the body responds to viruses of this type, Dr Fauci said, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will with one of the candidates get an efficacy signal.
Another thing that he said is worrying epidemiologists is the possibility of the vaccine backfiring and making the virus even stronger. In the past, Fauci said, there have been vaccines that produced a suboptimal response.
“When the person gets exposed, they actually have an enhanced pathogenesis of the disease, which is always worrisome. So we want to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” he added.
According to The World Health Organization, over 100 vaccines are in the works globally with many human trials already underway. But, it could still be 12-18 months until a promising Covid-19 vaccine is developed.
Dr Fauci stressed that the country needs to continue measures aimed at mitigating and containing the outbreak until a vaccine is ready.
With no proven cure or treatment at hand, the development of a vaccine appears to be the sole turning point in the world’s fight against the contagion. Mass production of the vaccine and administering it to the world’s 7.6 billion people are going to be the next big challenges.
But, Dr Fauci was also ‘cautiously optimistic’ that a vaccine will be developed with some degree of efficacy. “Hopefully a percentage enough that will induce the kind of herd immunity that would give protection to the population at home.”