“I think it will be a very effective vaccine. That’s my prediction, “said Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser on Operation Warp Speed. “Based on my personal experience and the biology of this virus, I think this vaccine will be highly effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 90% [range]. ”
Immunologist Slaoui, previously head of the vaccination program at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led the development of five major new vaccines.
He said that by mid-2021, but probably by the end of 2021, there would be “ideally” enough vaccine for all Americans.
Slaoui spoke Thursday to CNN lead medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen during a tour of the Covid-19 clinical trial in Savannah, Georgia. It was his first television interview since joining Operation Warp Speed in May.
When will the vaccine be available to everyone?
“The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. “It would be great if we got there. I don’t think we will [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine. ”
Vaccines have different degrees of effectiveness. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the entire cycle of polio vaccines is effective from 99% to 100%; complete vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis is effective at 80-90%, while the flu dose is effective at 40-60%.
Slaoui added that with Covid-19, “we may need a booster” after the initial vaccination, “every year or every two years or every three years.”
Slaoui said he expects to “probably have tens of millions of doses” of the vaccine in December this year or January next year, and these would go to high-risk individuals because “we will not have doses for the entire US population. on the first day. ‘ “
High-risk individuals include the elderly and people with underlying health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Slaoui said he was “optimistic” that there would be vaccines for all Americans by the end of 2021, but preferably by mid-2021.
“That’s our goal,” he said.
Experiments with vaccines moving at a record pace
Operation Warp Speed is funding eight vaccines, Slaoui said.
Five of them are already in phase 3 clinical trials or will begin in late September, he said. The Phase 3 trial is the last round of testing before the vaccine gets in front of regulators and can be marketed. The Phase 3 trials of the Covid-19 vaccine will involve 30,000 subjects each.
“They are different vaccines. In fact, they go very fast, “Slaoui said, noting that the virus was identified six months ago. “I’ve been doing it for 30 years, and the fastest thing I can remember, which went from discovery to phase three experiments, was in four years.”
The vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer are in Phase 3 in the United States, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is in Phase 3 trials in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 studies for this vaccine are expected to begin in August in the United States.
Phase 3 studies on vaccines prepared by two other companies – Johnson & Johnson and Novavax – are scheduled for early September, he added.
Slaoui did not name the other three vaccines that will be funded by Operation Warp Speed.
John Bonifield and CNN’s Dana Vigue contributed to this report.