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  1. CHICAGO (Reuters) - If all goes well, the first doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said on Thursday. Based on current projections from vaccine front-runners Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, Americans will likely know “sometime in December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a live chat on Twitter and Facebook. “The first interim look (at trial results) should be, we hope, within the next few weeks,” he said. Both companies started the final stage of clinical testing in late July with tens of thousands of people taking part in each trial. Moderna earlier on Thursday said it was on track to deliver interim data from its large, late-stage trial next month. Pfizer, which was expected to announce interim data in October, is now unlikely to release data before November, probably after the Nov 3. U.S. presidential election. The data will then need to be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will make recommendations on who gets the first doses if the trials prove successful. Practically speaking, Fauci said, the first vaccine doses would likely be deployed to individuals deemed most in need “by the end of December or the beginning of January.” Fauci’s comments were part of a conversation with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who took questions from listeners. Even with an effective vaccine to protect against the virus, Fauci said it will take time to get back to something approaching normal as vaccine-induced immunity builds both nationally and globally. He said life will likely not get back to normal “until the end of 2021 at least.” In the interim, Collins urged Americans to be prepared to continue wearing masks and maintain social distancing. “I know Americans are tired of these measures. Tired of wearing masks. Tired of not being able to congregate together,” Collins said. “But we’ve got a long road yet to go.” Source
  2. Anthony Fauci said Thursday the global coronavirus outbreak will not be a pandemic for "a lot longer" because of the development of vaccines, striking a hopeful note even as the situation worsens in the short term. "Certainly it's not going to be pandemic for a lot longer because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around," Fauci said at an event hosted by the think tank Chatham House. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said that while the virus will likely cease raging across the globe as it is now, it could circulate quietly below the surface, at least in certain areas. "Putting it to rest doesn't mean eradicating it," he said. "I doubt we're going to eradicate this, I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically, it may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about." Still, Fauci clearly thinks that vaccines will be a major boost in the fight against the virus. Pfizer reported this week that an interim analysis shows its vaccine was more than 90 percent effective, higher than expectations. Moderna said trial results for its own vaccine candidate may be available by the end of the month. In the meantime, though, coronavirus infections in the U.S. and around the globe are surging. Case numbers are rising in every single state, the U.S. this week set a single-day high for new infections and a record number of people are hospitalized with the disease. Still, Fauci said knowing an end is in sight is all the more reason to keep up precautions like mask-wearing, distancing, and washing hands in the short term. The general public in the U.S. could start getting a vaccine sometime in the spring, officials have said, and high priority groups like health care workers and the elderly, as soon as December. "Ever since it became clear a few days ago that we have a really quite effective vaccine getting ready to deploy, [the message] is rather than 'Hey don't worry you're OK,' it's 'Don't stop shooting, the cavalry is coming but don't put your weapons down, you better keep fighting because they're not here yet,' " Fauci said. Source
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