New coronavirus surge will cause many deaths: Chief scientist behind Operation Warp Speed
'It’s going to take a while before we have enough vaccines for everybody,' Dr. Moncef Slaoui said
The "current surge in coronavirus cases" is "very concerning" to the chief scientist behind Operation Warp Speed, the public-private partnership between biotech company Moderna and the federal government to produce a vaccine.
“As it has been said, we’re probably going to experience another surge on top of the current surge and, unfortunately, there will be a lot of diseases, a lot of deaths,” Operation Warp Speed scientific head Dr. Moncef Slaoui told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria."
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Slaoui's comments come after the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. topped 200,000 for the first time Friday. The highest previous daily count was 196,000 on Nov. 20, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Moderna's public-private partnership with the federal government Operation Warp Speed has been "making significant progress" in the production of the vaccine, according to Slaoui.
Moderna announced that it will apply for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, being the second company to do so, coming behind Pfizer which had already filed for EUA. The FDA plans to decide by early December.
Slaoui said that Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines are "94-95% effective and 100% effective against severe disease."
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With the process for vaccination authorization underway, Slaoui said there are “treatments” that have been approved and made available this past month, which are “two monoclonal antibodies” and “a small monoclonal antibody." However, he also noted that the "size of the surge is such that we are not able to produce as quickly as much treatment as needed."
“The vaccines, I hope, will be approved next week and the week after and we are standing ready to immediately distribute them across jurisdictions across the states, to make them available on the basis of the priority that the Center for Disease Control and it’s advisors will at least advise who should be vaccinated first,” Slaoui said.
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Slaoui added that though there has been “tremendous work to make the vaccine available,” there is only enough to “immunize 20 million people in December.”
“It’s going to take a while before we have enough vaccines for everybody, so, resilience and patience are very important,” Slaoui said.
Slaoui projected that there “should be enough vaccines to cover the Earth’s population” by June 2021.
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Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.