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Fauci says early COVID vaccines will prevent symptoms, not block disease — and may be only 50% to 60% effective


How soon will a vaccine be ready?

Photo by GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that early COVID-19 vaccines will likely only prevent symptoms — not stop transmission.

He also pointed out that such vaccines may only be 50% or 60% effective.

What are the details?

According to a report from Yahoo! Finance, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned that early vaccines are simply aimed at preventing or reducing symptoms of coronavirus infection.

Fauci made the remarks during Monday's Yahoo! Finance's All Markets Summit.

"If the vaccine allows you to prevent initial infection, that would be great," he said in remarks. "[But] the primary endpoint [is] to prevent clinically recognizable disease."

At the time of this reporting, four biotechnology companies are nearing their end of clinical trials as they furiously work to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 — AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, which is partnered with BioNTech.

"The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill," Fauci said. "If the vaccine also allows you to prevent initial infection, that would be great. [But] what I would settle for, and all of my colleagues would settle for, is the primary endpoint to prevent clinically recognizable disease."

What else?

Earlier this week, Fauci said that a COVID-19 vaccine may be ready as early as November, but will take months to roll out to the American public.

In remarks on BBC One's "The Andrew Marr Show," Fauci said, "I think we will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December."

"The question is, once you have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one, how can you get it to the people who need it as soon as possible," he added.

He also explained that the country could begin to "approach some form of normality."

"I think when we get a vaccine, and we start getting people vaccinated, over a period of several months into 2021, we will begin to approach some form of normality, depending upon how many people, what proportion of the people, take the vaccine," Fauci added.

"That should be combined with some degree of public health measures," he continued. "I don't think that a vaccine alone right off will get us back to normality."

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