A doctor testing a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus thinks it is "mind-boggling" to believe that an inoculation could be ready to go by the end of the year, but he is hopeful that it can be done.
"Trying to think that, a year after a virus has been identified, we will have a vaccine ready to deploy and ready to go into massive distribution, it's simply mind-boggling to me," Dr. Carlos del Rio said Friday on CNBC.
"I have to be a little cautious and say I hope it happens, but I don't want to be — I want to make sure we do it the right way."
Del Rio, a professor of medicine at Emory University, is one of the researchers testing the efficacy of a vaccine at the Atlanta college's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit developed by the Massachusetts biotech firm Moderna in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health.
The Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle also is conducting tests. Vaccines usually take 10-15 years to develop, according to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
But within 65 days, Del Rio said, the novel coronavirus has been identified and testing already has begun on a vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19.
"That has never, ever occurred before," he said.
Moderna announced encouraging results from the first phase of its study, with 45 participants, earlier this week. The second phase with 600 participants is expected to begin soon with a third phase in July.
Del Rio's comments follow that of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who made similar comments earlier in the day.
"I think it is conceivable, if we don't run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year, December 2020, or into January, 2021," Fauci told National Public Radio.
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