Dr. Tom Inglesby. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Updated: 05/17/2020 05:15 PM EDT
A vaccine for the novel coronavirus is possible by the end of the year, but he wouldn’t “bank on it,” the director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said Sunday.
“We should hold out some level of hope that if everything goes in the right direction, we could possibly be seeing a vaccine by the end of the year,” Dr. Tom Inglesby said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“
Inglesby said ordinarily it is not realistic to expect a vaccine to be created quickly, but he said the circumstances in this case are unique and might lead to faster development.
“Coming into this year, I would have said it was completely unrealistic,” Inglesby told host Chuck Todd of a 12- to 18- month timeline.
“Given that there are now 110 vaccine projects going on around the world that all the major vaccine companies in the world are working on this in some way, and given that Tony Fauci and Moncef Slaoui are now leading figures in the U.S. in this project and they both believe it’s possible, I think it is possible,” Inglesby said. “But everything would have to break in the right way. And there are many ways that it might not work. So, I don’t think we should bank on it.”
Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Slaoui was appointed last week by the Trump administration to lead the government’s effort to speed the development of potential vaccines.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also expressed optimism about the development of a vaccine but qualified it. Among other things, he said, a vaccine might not be completely protective. He also said it was unlikely a vaccine could be produced in sufficient quantity to protect everyone immediately.
“A lot of things can go wrong,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “A lot of things can be delayed. It’s very hard to get to the point where you’re manufacturing at high, high quantities. I would say that’s probably more likely a 2021 event that we’re going to have the vaccine available in sufficient quantities to mass inoculate the population.”
He told host Margaret Brennan: “I do think we’ll have the vaccine available in the fall for use maybe to ring fence an outbreak if you have an outbreak in a large city or to inoculate a certain portion of the population on an experimental basis to protect them because they’re at high risk of a bad outcome.”