Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the United States should not expect to see an approved vaccine by October – a reference to speculation that President Trump could prematurely rush a vaccine through the regulatory process prior to Election Day.
“The only way I could imagine that is if, in fact, one of the phase three trials that's now underway enrolled at just absolute record speed, turned out to be 100% effective, and was therefore judged safe and effective even before they had gotten all the number of volunteers signed up that they expected. I mean, that's sort of a number of unlikelihoods piled on top of each other,” Collins said on Thursday during a media call with Operation Warp Speed leadership.
“So again, I would not expect to see, on the basis of what we know, scientifically, that we'd be at the point where FDA would have the chance to make such a judgment until considerably later than October first. Maybe November, December would be my best bet," she added.
Collins, who was joined on the call by Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said that Operation Warp Speed is still on track to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective Covid-19 vaccine no later than January 2021.