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Duke researchers discuss timeline for COVID-19 vaccine, clinical trials

Posted June 24, 2020 12:37 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2020 7:57 p.m. EDT

— According to experts, a vaccine for coronavirus could be available to the American Public by 2021. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautions the public that the timeline is fluid.

"Although you can never guarantee at all the safety and efficacy of a vaccine until you actually test it in the field, we feel cautiously optimistic," he said.

Researchers from Duke University are among those working tirelessly to create a vaccine.

Clinical trials are expected to start in the next few weeks.

The Duke researchers, however, do not agree with Fauci's suggested timeline of having a vaccine by 2021; instead, they said his timeline seems unrealistic

While it's possible some people will be able to get a vaccine by 2021, the consensus among Duke researchers was that it will not be generally, widely available by that time.

One Duke researcher in Singapore who is working on a vaccine said they are in the animal testing phase right now, but hope to move to clinical trials soon.

The researchers explained that it will take a while to learn if the vaccine is effective.

Then, there are practical considerations. Manufacturing millions or billions of vaccines will take a lot of time.

One researcher, David Ridley, said, "I respect that optimism. But will you and I be vaccinated this year? No way! I think it’s entirely possible, it’s possible that a vaccine will be approved this year. But not at scale. We won't have a lot of doses of this."

Duke researchers said they think this time next year is a more practical goal for when a vaccine might be widely available to the public. ​

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