Following the announcement that the phase three clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine – developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – has begun in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci again said he is "cautiously optimistic" there will be an answer on whether a vaccine will work in the late fall or early winter.
Speaking Tuesday on Good Morning America, the nation's leading expert on infectious disease explained the results from the phase one trial were "enough for us to see the kind of response that this vaccine induces in individual[s]. And it induced the level of antibodies – which are the proteins that fight the virus – at a level that was quite high, in the sense of what was comparable if not better than what we see in the recovery from natural infection.”
"That's really one of the issues when you're dealing with vaccines. If you can induce a response that's least as good as natural infection, that is a good predictor that you're going to have a vaccine that works. Obviously, the proof of the pudding is you've got to do the trial," Fauci added.
The large Moderna trial "will give us the answer and, yes, I am cautiously optimistic that as we get into the late fall and early winter, we will have an answer – and I believe it will be positive," Fauci told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
More on the trial: The investigational vaccine was developed by the biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The trial is to be conducted at nearly 100 US research sites, according to Moderna. The first patient was dosed at a site in Savannah, Georgia.
The trial is expected to enroll about 30,000 adult volunteers and evaluates the safety of the Moderna/NIH vaccine and whether it can prevent symptomatic Covid-19 after two doses, among other outcomes.
Volunteers will receive either two 100-microgram injections of the vaccine or a placebo about 28 days apart. Investigators and participants will not know who has received the vaccine.