Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Fox this weekend that having a coronavirus vaccine by January is possible “on paper” but will require the proper execution.
Birx was asked whether it was realistic to have a vaccine by the start of next year, given other estimates that it will take at least 12 to 18 months to develop.
“The way that it’s possible is if you bring forward five or six different classes of candidates, which the Operation Warp Speed has done,” Birx said. “And so it’s not relying on a single vaccine platform. It’s relying on several different candidates that are made differently and act differently.”
The vaccine would also require speeding up clinical trials, she said.
“And so, on paper it’s possible. It’s whether we can execute and execute around the globe, because you also, for phase three, have to have active viral transmission in a community in order to study its efficacy,” Birx said.
CNN previously reported that the goal is to make 100 million doses of a vaccine available by November, 200 million doses by December and 300 million doses by January, according to a senior administration official.
On remdesivir: Birx described the investigational drug remdesivir as a “first step forward.”
In early results from a trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the drug was found to shorten the duration of illness in severely affected patients, but it had no statistically significant effect on mortality.
Birx said we’ve only seen “half the data,” but she said an independent monitoring board thought the improvement was significant enough to start giving remdesivir to patients who were previously receiving a placebo.
“So it’s a first step forward. In parallel, we have a whole series of therapeutics including plasma, and also monoclonal antibodies being worked through,” she said, referring to lab-made antibodies targeting the virus.