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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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With the world in the grip of the novel coronavirus pandemic–which has caused the deaths of tens of thousands on the one hand, and extreme lockdown conditions to protect people’s health and try to slow the spread of the virus on the other–the development and successful production of a vaccine seems like today’s holy grail to allow the United States, and the world, to resume normal life.
There have been more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 97,000.
In the United States, 476,397 cases have been reported, including 17,843 deaths, according to the most recent figures.
“And we are hoping to move vaccines in the clinical trials in the coming weeks and months and we’re very excited about that. You know, this year and an 18-month time frame, as Dr. Fauci and others have talked about, I think we all agree that’s an aspirational goal,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, a noted vaccinologist and founding dean and chief of the Baylor College of Medicine School of Tropical Medicine, referring to prominent immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci, who has been advising Donald Trump on the pandemic. “The reason I say that, you know, vaccines, we have been in this business for 20, actually, myself 40 years, it is usually a 10 to 25-year time frame.
“People forget how long it really takes to develop an effective and safe vaccine and do all the adequate clinical testings. I think the world’s record is around 5 years for ebola, and I was talking to Paul Offit recently, four years for mumps,” Dr Hotez added. “So to say we are going to do it to a year or 18 months, we are trying and our scientists are working day and night on our vaccine, as are other groups. But it would be unprecedented of that were to happen.”
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