Trump upbeat on three coronavirus vaccine candidates
US health expert insists a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 will be available by year-end to meet a target of making 300 million doses by early 2021.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday voiced optimism the United States would soon come up with a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, saying three vaccine candidates were looking especially good.
"Three are really, really looking good," Trump said at an event at the White House, without providing details. "We think we're going to have it soon."
U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said earlier on Thursday that he was optimistic the Trump administration's vaccine-acceleration programme "Operation Warp Speed" will generate a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 by year-end and can meet a target of making 300 million doses by early 2021.
Speaking at a U.S. Senate hearing, Collins said the United States aimed to have the ability to conduct a million rapid, on-site Covid-19 tests per day some time around September to enable the reopening of schools and resumption of sports events.
"That's really a stretch goal, but it's the right goal for the American people," he said.
Dr. Gary Disbrow, acting director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), said that the U.S. government was trying to negotiate the lowest possible price for a vaccine. Still, he said that the country would likely have to pay more for any vaccine not developed with government funding.
BARDA has provided funds for three vaccine candidates being developed under Operation Warp Speed by Moderna Inc, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Plc.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said last month that the administration aimed to narrow its financial support to about seven experimental coronavirus vaccines from the previous 14.
The number of U.S. Covid-19 infections has surged over the past week, with daily figures setting new records several times fuelled by outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona.
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