News that Russia may have created an inoculation that is close to being ready for release cheered some who are hoping for good news on the coronavirus front. But Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said that having a vaccination isn’t the same thing as having one that works, as National Geographic reports.
“I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Fauci said. “I seriously doubt that they’ve done that.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that his country had created the world’s first coronavirus vaccination and that it was ready to use. This despite the fact that it had not been subjected to large-scale clinical human trials.
Scientists creating the vaccine said that they tested it on themselves earlier this year before trying it on 76 humans a short while later.
However, none of the results of the trials have been released, nor has information about animal testing models or lab models. Despite all this, Putin said that the country’s health authority is ready to release the vaccine to the public.
Fauci explained that the U.S. could be in the same place as Russia if it wanted to, but that more testing is needed to be safe.
“We have half a dozen or more vaccines,” Fauci said. “So if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn’t work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to. But that’s not the way it works.”
A few years ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that only one in three vaccines make it through the third phase of testing.
Some experts worry that Russia’s vaccine could prove to be ineffective and might discourage others from getting vaccinated in other parts of the world. If this happens, it could result in not achieving herd immunity, which is the goal of any vaccination program.
Fauci also commented on reports that he and his family have received death threats as a result of the pandemic and his role in guiding the country through it.
He said that they have received threats and that people “terribly harass my wife and my children with phone calls.” Fauci has previously said that he was forced to get security to protect himself and his family.