Rabat – Moncef Slaoui, the Moroccan-born immunologist heading the US’s coronavirus vaccine efforts or Operation Warp Speed (OWS) has expressed optimism about a potential Covid-19 vaccine, underlining that the likelihood of a COVID-19 vaccine is currently within an efficacy rate “in the 90% range.”
Moncef Slaoui told CNN’s senior medical correspondent, “My personal opinion based on my experience and the biology of this virus, I think this vaccine is going to be highly efficacious. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the 90% [range].”
While the chief advisor said he is “optimistic” that there will be vaccines for all Americans by 2021 and “ideally within the first half of 2021,” he expressed concerns over the duration of the potential vaccine’s effectiveness.
“I think the question that’s open is, for how long will the vaccine afford efficacy?”
With a COVID-19 vaccine, Moncef Slaoui notes that “it’s possible that we will need a booster” following the initial vaccine “every year or every two years or every three years.”
OWS, the public-private partnership introduced by the Trump administration in April, is funding eight possible vaccines in hopes of delivering 300 million doses by January 2021.
So far, five of those vaccines are already in Phase 3 of their clinical trials, meaning they are undergoing the last round of tests before a vaccine reaches the potential to go on the market.
Each Phase 3 trial will involve 30,000 study patients and testing is set to begin by the end of September.
“They are all different vaccines. They are actually going very fast,” Monef Slaoui said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and the fastest thing that I ever can remember that went from discovery to Phase 3 trials was in four years.”
As numerous countries fall into recession and the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, experts agree that developing an effective vaccine will take more time than most governments and people would hope.
According to Moncef Slaoui, the first tens of millions of doses of an approved vaccine will go to high-risk individuals, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.