Many health experts say a safe and effective vaccine might not be publicly available until early 2021. But it’s possible the Food and Drug Administration could give an emergency use authorization for a vaccine to be distributed before its Phase 3 clinical trial is over, if the data is very promising.
Some doctors say they’d rather see a vaccine go through all the rigors to get a full FDA approval.
And that’s not likely to happen by late October, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“If you look at the projection, of the enrollment (of trial participants) and the kinds of things you’ll need to get a decision about whether the vaccine is safe and effective, most of us project that that’s going to be by November, December, by the end of the year,” Fauci told CNN on Thursday.
“Could this be earlier? Sure … that’s unlikely (but) not impossible.”
Any decision about approving or authorizing a coronavirus vaccine will be driven by science and evidence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
He said that he doesn’t know when the data will come, as it will depend on the rate of infection in the communities where the vaccine candidate and placebo have been administered.
“President Trump has made it clear, and I’ve made it clear, these decisions will be driven by the standards of science and evidence and FDA’s gold standards,” he said.
US could see up to 211,000 deaths by September 26
A CDC forecast that pulls data from 35 modeling groups foresees the death toll from Covid-19 increasing to between 200,000 to 211,000 by September 26.
The CDC forecast released on August 13 predicted a death toll of nearly 189,000; the range it gave was between 181,375 to 201,431 deaths.
Governors tell college students to be careful
College campuses in at least 40 states have seen outbreaks of the virus, news that has prompted elected officials to caution students to be more careful.
“I want to urge all of the college students as we go into the Labor Day weekend, I understand many will probably not be going home since they just got on campus. So they’ll be around and they’ll have some free time,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “You’ve got to be cautious over this weekend.”
The governor said that 211 of the 969 new cases reported in the state are from Washington County, home to the University of Arkansas.
In the county, four out of every five positive tests were among people between the ages of 18 and 24.
Meanwhile, Ohio State University, which typically has 61,000 students on its main campus, has reported a total of 882 cases since mid-August, and averaged a positivity rate of 4.5% for the past week.
Gov. Mike DeWine said the numbers are a result of universities doing “frankly a very good job in testing.” But he also asked college students to be careful.
“While all of us, when we were your age, thought we were invincible, you can pass this on, you can get it and pass it on,” DeWine said. “And that really is the danger.”
In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson said that approximately 30% of the new cases in the state are among the 18 to 24 population.
“I know there is a lot of concern right now regarding college students,” Parson said. “But I want to assure you that our colleges, and our universities have plans in place, and are taking all steps necessary to keep their students and communities as safe as possible.”
More than 27,000 students have had positive coronavirus tests, according to CNN’s compilation of available data.
Across the US, more than 6.1 million people have been infected with coronavirus.
CNN’s Annie Grayer, Naomi Thomas, Kay Jones, Rebekah Riess, Elizabeth Hartfield, Steve Almasy, Topher Gauk-Roger, Annie Grayer and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.