Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said on Thursday that the novel coronavirus won’t be a pandemic for “a lot longer” thanks to progress in vaccine development, The New York Post reported.
“Certainly it’s not going to be a pandemic for a lot longer because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around,” the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said at a virtual health conference hosted by London-based think tank Chatham House.
COVID-19 is nonetheless here to stay in some form, Fauci warned, suggesting that public health officials need to be prepared to tackle potential outbreaks in the future.
“I doubt we’re going to eradicate this. I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about.”
Dozens of COVID-19 vaccines are in development, but the one from the U.S.-based firm Pfizer has shown the most promising results. The company announced earlier this week that their candidate was more than 90 percent effective at stopping the dangerous virus.
Pfizer will reportedly manufacture enough doses for up to 20 million people by the end of the year, provided that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves its vaccine soon.
As The New York Post noted, pharmaceutical company Moderna revealed on Wednesday that it had enough data to assess its own vaccine’s potential efficacy. Though Moderna did not say when the results would be available to the public, they will most likely be released soon, according to Fauci.
Just two days after Pfizer made the announcement, the developers of a controversial Russian vaccine called Sputnik V said that their candidate was even more effective at preventing COVID-19, according to Nature. This claim was met with skepticism, because the report was based on an analysis the results of only 20 cases.
As for Fauci, he has expressed willingness to continue assisting the American government in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. He has butted heads with President Donald Trump.
In an interview on Tuesday, Fauci — who served under six presidents — argued that ousting him would not help the federal government handle the unprecedented public health crisis.
“My entire activity, every minute of my life right now is devoted to trying to end this pandemic, so I would hope that I’m allowed to continue to do that,” Fauci stated.