By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
AFP via Getty Images
What the world desperately wants and needs is a COVID-19 vaccine, but it may not be the home run that everyone is hoping for.
That is according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was asked how long a person would be shielded from the virus via a vaccine.
“It’s not going to be like a measles vaccine.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
“We do not know the answer to that,” Fauci said on a live-streamed videoconference hosted by the Dr. Francis Collins, director of National Institutes of Health. “You can assume, that you’re going to get protection at least to take us at least through this cycle.”
“When you look at natural infection it’s anywhere from six months to a year. However, with this spike protein that’s being presented in the way that we do it, with primes and in some cases boosts, we’re going to assume that there’s a degree of protection, but we have to assume that it’s going to be finite,” said Fauci.
“It’s not going to be like a measles vaccine. So there’s going to be follow-up in those cases to see if we might need a boost. We might need a boost to continue the protection, but right now we do not know how long it lasts,” he said.
Vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, human papillomavirus and even influenza all require boosters to remain effective.
Several drugmakers are currently developing COVID-19 vaccine candidates including AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -0.61% and the University of Oxford, Inovio Pharmaceuticals /zigman2/quotes/202993817/composite INO +1.74% and Moderna /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +8.42% . The pandemic has claimed 538,190 lives and infected 11,626,759, with the U.S. in the grips of fresh outbreaks that have set records in several states over recent days.
An eventual return to economic normalcy largely hinges on vaccines that can prevent infections from the coronavirus. “There is no guarantee...that we will have a safe and effective vaccine, but we are cautiously optimistic,” Fauci testified during a Senate hearing last month.