US to conduct key studies on three possible COVID-19 vaccines: Fauci

The US government will fund and conduct key studies on three experimental coronavirus vaccines, said the nation’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci.

“The coronavirus vaccine effort is progressing very well and we expect more than one candidate vaccine to be in advanced clinical testing by early summer,” Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Wednesday.

“This is good news for the overall coronavirus vaccine effort,” he said, reported Xinhua news agency.

Phase 3 trials, which typically involve tens of thousands of people and measure whether a vaccine is safe and effective, will begin with one by Moderna in July, then an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in August and one by Johnson & Johnson in September, according to the CNN report.

Fauci said the funding decision came from the Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the National Institutes of Health and other agencies.

He said that the testing plans still track with the timeline that he has suggested in the past: a vaccine at scale by the end of the year or early next year.