As COVID-19 continues to spread around the United States, and the whole world for that matter, a coronavirus vaccine is highly anticipated and expected sooner rather than later. But according to Anthony Fauci, MD, the pressure to develop a vaccine as soon as possible for the people to use comes with great risk. He explained that developing a vaccine takes time (usually between 18 months and two years at least), and rushing the process might actually be dangerous. Before reaching the market, a vaccine must be safe for use and proven to be effective, otherwise its testing and efficacy can be compromised.
“The one thing that you would not want to see with a vaccine is getting a EUA [emergency use authorization] before you have a signal of efficacy,” Fauci said in a phone interview with Reuters. “One of the potential dangers if you prematurely let a vaccine out is that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other vaccines to enroll people in their trial.”
Loosely translated, rushing the process might actually do more harm than good. According to Fauci, EUA is a must when we talk about treatments that are meant to diagnose, treat, and prevent serious diseases where the benefits surpass the potential downsides.
Fauci is quite concerned about the coronavirus vaccine, and he even reacted when Russia announced in August that their vaccine is available for mass use. Needless to say, Fauci declared in a live video interview with Bloomberg’s QuickTake on Aug. 18 that he will never support Russia or any other country that releases a vaccine that hasn’t been properly tested before because it could jeopardize overall testing and put patients at risk.
“Because that would really impact upon the rest of the world if it turns out the vaccine isn’t safe,” he added. He explained that the concern he and other people have regarding the apparition of an early vaccine is that it’s almost impossible that it has been adequately tested, so it might not be as safe and efficient as some might think.
Now, regarding Russia, Fauci believes that they took a huge risk by developing a vaccine so early, continuing that they’re willing to test the vaccine on people even though they do not know for sure if it’s safe or effective.