National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said 100 million doses of coronavirus could “perhaps” be available by early next year.
Asked when a coronavirus vaccine would be approved and available to the public, Collins said we could “perhaps have, if all goes well, maybe as many as 100 million doses by early 2021.”
That’s somewhat less optimistic than what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday.
“By the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses,” Fauci said during a live question and answer session sponsored by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Some context: The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is currently funding research on five different experimental vaccines.
Pharmaceutical companies Moderna and AstraZeneca are currently in clinical trials, testing the vaccines on humans. Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and Merck are developing a vaccine, but have not yet started clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.
“Because we have a number of these, and they all use a different strategy, I am optimistic that at least one maybe two, maybe three will come through looking like what we need,” Collins told CNN. “We want to hedge our bets by having a number of different approaches, so that it’s very likely that at least one of them and maybe more will work.”
He said that large-scale clinical trials of “several” vaccines will start in July. He said each vaccine would be testing in a phase three trial involving 30,000 people, some of them receiving a vaccine and some receiving a placebo, or a shot that does nothing.
The study subjects will then go about their lives, and the researchers will tally up who contracts Covid-19 and who does not.