President Donald Trump on Sunday said the United States will have a coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.
“We are very confident that we’re going to have a vaccine at the end of the year, by the end of the year,” Trump said in a Fox News “town hall” show broadcast from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
He also said he would urge the reopening of schools and universities in September, saying “I want them to go back.”
The vaccine prediction moves up the timeline that has been discussed as the United States and other countries race to be the first to bring out a way to prevent COVID-19.
Although companies are moving forward on vaccines at record speed, health experts have estimated that the development and distribution of a vaccine could take from 12 to 18 months. https://t.co/BTrpkjcMRY
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) May 4, 2020
Trump insisted he would be happy for another country to beat US researchers to the medicine, saying “if it’s another country I’ll take my hat off.”
“I don’t care, I just want to get a vaccine that works.”
Asked about risks during human trials in a research process that is going unusually quickly, Trump said “they’re volunteers. They know what they’re getting into.”
Coronavirus vaccines trials in the US
The US has been trying to prepare a vaccine for the novel coronavirus since the outbreak, however, no success has been achieved so far. The first trial for the vaccine started in March, but it was unsuccessful.
The study was evaluating different doses of the experimental vaccine for safety and its ability to induce an immune response in participants. This was the first of multiple steps in the clinical trial process for evaluating the potential benefit of the vaccine.
The investigational vaccine was developed using a genetic platform called mRNA (messenger RNA). The investigational vaccine directs the body’s cells to express a virus protein that it is hoped will elicit a robust immune response.
The mRNA-1273 vaccine has shown promise in animal models, and this is the first trial to examine it in humans.
Scientists at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and Moderna were able to quickly develop mRNA-1273 because of prior studies of related coronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Coronaviruses are spherical and have spikes protruding from their surface, giving the particles a crown-like appearance.
The spike binds to human cells, allowing the virus to gain entry. VRC and Moderna scientists already were working on an investigational MERS vaccine targeting the spike, which provided a head start for developing a vaccine candidate to protect against COVID-19.
“We are very confident that we’re going to have a vaccine at the end of the year,” US President Donald Trump says in a Fox News “town hall” show, adding he would urge the reopening of schools and universities in September.#Coronavirus #COVID_19https://t.co/J3dYRtdnXv
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 4, 2020
Once the genetic information of SARS-CoV-2 became available, the scientists quickly selected a sequence to express the stabilized spike protein of the virus in the existing mRNA platform.
This trial produced no positive impact on the patient and therefore, was not successful.
Use of Remdesivir to cure coronavirus
Recently the US has authorized to use the ebola treating drug, Remdesivir to be used for coronavirus treatment.
The US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green signal for the use of Ebola drug Remdesivir for treating the coronavirus.
The authorization means the anti-viral drug can now be used on people who are hospitalized with severe Covid-19.
A recent clinical trial showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for people who were seriously ill.
However, it did not significantly improve survival rates.
Experts have warned the drug – which was originally developed to treat Ebola, and is produced by Gilead pharmaceutical company in California – should not be seen as a “magic bullet” for coronavirus.
The drug interferes with the virus’s genome, disrupting its ability to replicate.
During a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O’Day said the FDA authorization was an important first step.
The company would donate 1.5 million vials of the drug, he said.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn also said at the meeting: “It’s the first authorized therapy for Covid-19, so we’re really proud to be part of it.”
Emergency FDA authorization is not the same as formal approval, which requires a higher level of review.
After this development, the announcement of Trump that the US would be able to synthesize vaccines in 12 months is a welcoming note.
Trump appeared to acknowledge that he was getting ahead of his own advisors on the prediction for the vaccine.
“The doctors would say ‘well, you shouldn’t say that.’ I’ll say what I think,” he said.
AFP with additional input from GVS News Desk.