U.S. President Donald Trump said he is hopeful there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year and that the United States is working with other countries to ensure the effort is a global one.
At an event Friday in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said the U.S. government would invest in all the top vaccine candidates and that the list of promising possibilities had been narrowed to 14 and would later be further narrowed.
He said progress was moving at “record speed” and that his administration would work to quickly get a vaccine distributed once it was ready.
However, Trump said that even without a vaccine, the U.S. must be prepared to reopen.
"Vaccine or no vaccine, we're back," Trump said.
He also said the virus could eventually go away without a vaccine.
"Other things have never had a vaccine and they go away. So I don't want people to think that this is all dependent on vaccine," he said.
Trump said the world was working together on the vaccine initiative without egos.
"We have no ego. Whoever gets it, we think it's great. We're going to work with them, they're going to work with us. Likewise, if we get it, we're going to be working with them," he said.
Moncef Slaoui, a former executive at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline whom Trump has named to spearhead the administration’s vaccine effort, said he was “confident” that a vaccine would start getting to the public in 2020.
"I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine. These data made me feel even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of a vaccine by the end of 2020," Slaoui said.
Separately, Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, also expressed optimism Friday that a COVID-19 vaccine might be available this year. COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Collins said emergency use for a vaccine could be ready by the fall, with doses for the public available in January. However, he acknowledged his projections were “a stretch goal.”
"I think we will see as soon as July the large-scale trials beginning to get under way for at least one or maybe two of the vaccines that are furthest along. And then others, I'm hoping, come along not too long after that," Collins said.