Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel told Tucker Carlson last week that at least one top health official thinks a new vaccine being developed to fight the novel coronavirus disease looks “very encouraging.”
According to Siegel, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a top adviser on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, is “optimistic” about vaccine development as the U.S. reaches 550,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 21,000 deaths from the disease, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Speaking with Carlson, Siegel said dozens of tests for the coronavirus, particularly ones testing for viral antibodies, are currently in development. The doctor said he expects them to be made available for public use in the near future.
He then pivoted to the topic of a coronavirus vaccine.
“Tony talked to me about the vaccine development,” Siegel said of Fauci, according to Fox. “And he said that the Moderna vaccine that the NIH is looking at is very encouraging.”
Siegel said the vaccine is “about to go out of Phase 1 trials and soon into Phase 2.”
“That’s where they really see how effective it is. That’s where they look for the manufacturing process,” he added, according to Fox. “By the time it gets to market several months from now — as you know, ton of regulations — but a lot of money has to be put into it, up to about $1 billion. The manufacturing process, all of that is ahead.”
“You gotta be careful”
But it wasn’t all good news from Fox’s top medical analyst. According to Siegel, Fauci said the development of a vaccine could turn the coronavirus “into a super virus, where you actually see more effects from the vaccine that make you worse.”
“That has happened,” Siegel explained to Carlson, according to Fox. “And they’re looking very carefully in animal models to make sure that that does not happen here. It’s one of the reasons that it takes a while, Tucker, to actually get an effective vaccine.
“You gotta be careful,” he said. “You don’t want to get a vaccine that you think works, try it out on a lot of people, and find there’s a big side effect like that. You’ve got to work out the bugs in advance.”
Nonetheless, Siegel reported that Fauci is “very optimistic” at the rapid progress that has been seen thus far. “He does think this one is safe,” Siegel said. “And he says the virus hasn’t mutated, Tucker, and he thinks this is going to work.”
We can only hope for the best.