In a House panel hearing, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, along with Robert R. Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Brett P. Giroir from the Department of Health and Human Services, briefed the Democratic-led committee about the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

During the briefing, the House Select Subcommittee asked  Fauci about the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

Fauci responded by saying it was not a “dream” but rather a “reality” as vaccine development has moved at a remarkable pace. The infectious disease expert maintained in his opening comments that a vaccine by the year-end is possible, and he was optimistic about its development.

“We hope that as the time we get into the late fall and early winter we will have, in fact, a vaccine that we can say would be safe and effective,” he said. “One can never guarantee the safety or effectiveness unless you do the trial, but we are cautiously optimistic.”

When pressed about the safety of a vaccine that has been criticized for being rushed, Fauci maintained that vaccine development was proceeding on pace and safely. He also indicated that it was not being done on a timeline to facilitate President Trump’s presidential election run.

Fauci was also asked about the use of hydroxychloroquine as it pertained to a study being conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug that has been suggested by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

Dr. Fauci said, “ That study is a flawed study.”

He also went on to reassure members of the panel that a safe and effective vaccine would come by the end of 2020 or early 2021 and doubted the efforts put forth by Russia and China, which have been accused of hacking vaccine data from multiple companies and countries.

“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they’re administering the vaccine to anyone,” Fauci said. “I do not believe that there will be vaccines so far ahead of us that we will have to depend on other countries to get us vaccines.”

The U.S. has reported over 4.49 million positive cases of the coronavirus, with over 152,000 COVID-19 deaths, Johns Hopkins University said. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci Widely respected health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is pictured. Photo: POOL/Al Drago