According to Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, the company should know by November whether their COVID-19 vaccine works. Bancel noted that they might even know by October, but that this is less likely. Moderna’s vaccine candidate is undergoing Phase 3 trials and testing now, making it one of the furthest-along candidates.
Bancel went on, noting “If the infection rate in the country were to slow down in the next weeks, it could potentially be pushed out in a worst-case scenario in December”. Moderna is one of three American drugmakers in the late stages of creating a vaccine, along with AstaZenica and Pfizer.
Drugmakers are racing to create a vaccine for the coronavirus. There is a lot at stake: a potential vaccine could help put a stop to a pandemic that has upended lives and livelihoods.
Moreover, whichever company is first to market with a vaccine will reap the rewards, likely raking in a fortune if their vaccine proves safe and viable.
Bancel’s comments come shortly after Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, noted that they should know if their vaccine is safe by late October. He told reporters that his company was prepared to ship hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine candidate if it is shown to be safe and effective.
Many in the public fear that drugmakers are racing too rapidly to create a vaccine. National polls show that almost half of Americans fear that safety has been compromised for speed in the vaccine process.
Some experts have raised concerns that the White House is putting too much pressure on drugmakers to rush to deliver a vaccine before Election Day. President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed in recent days that a vaccine could be available to the public by October.
“We’re very close to that vaccine as you know and I think much closer than I think most people want to say,” the president told reporters at a press briefing. “We think we can start sometime in October. So as soon as it is announced we’ll be able to start. That will be from mid-October on. It may be a little bit later than that.”
Some of the biggest hurdles of clearing a vaccine include ensuring it has no side effects or that its side effects are minimal. Another major hurdle: creating enough doses and supplying hospitals with clean supplies, like needles and gloves, used to administer the vaccine. However, should the vaccine roll-out go well, the US could see an end to the pandemic sooner than expected.