May 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump claims U.S. will have coronavirus vaccine by end of 2020

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall "America Together: Returning to Work," event, with anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum from the Lincoln Memorial
President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump asserted during a Fox News town hall Sunday night that he's "very confident" the U.S. will produce a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.

Why it matters: Trump's timeline is much more optimistic than what most public health officials have predicted. Experts estimate a vaccine could take at least 12–18 months to become widely available.

  • Vaccines typically take multiple years to develop. There is still no vaccine for HIV, and the Ebola vaccine was not approved until 2019.

What he's saying: "We think we'll have a vaccine by the end of this year and we're pushing very hard. We're building supply lines ... we have many companies who are I think close," Trump said.

  • "Now, the doctors will say, ‘Well you shouldn’t say that.’ I’ll say what I think. ... I think we’re going to have a vaccine much sooner rather than later.”
  • Trump called the work Gilead Sciences is doing on remdesivir as an example of a potential "game-changer."
  • As Axios' Bob Herman has reported, remdesivir could provide some help and lay the groundwork for more research, but the drug on its own does not appear to be any kind of "cure" for the novel coronavirus.

Between the lines: "Oxford University scientist John Bell, who is leading one of the efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine, said on NBC's 'Meet the Press' Sunday that his research group will likely get evidence on whether the vaccine has efficacy by early June." [Axios]

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