Speed Reads

if everything goes perfectly...

Dr. Rick Bright predicts coronavirus vaccine will take longer than 12 to 18 months to develop

Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted federal official who was previously leading coronavirus vaccine development, told Congress on Thursday a COVID-19 vaccine may take longer to develop than 18 months.

Bright testified on Capitol Hill after filing a whistleblower complaint alleging his recent ouster was retaliatory, and he was asked when he thinks there could be a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have cited a possible timeline of between 12 and 18 months. Bright, however, wasn't so sure.

"A lot of optimism is swirling around a 12 to 18 month timeframe, if everything goes perfectly," Bright said. "We've never seen everything go perfectly. ... I still think 12 to 18 months is an aggressive schedule, and I think it's going to take longer than that to do so."

Bright also expressed concern about rushing a vaccine and cutting out steps so that we don't have a "full assessment" of its safety. The 12 to 18 month timeline is from when a given manufacturer first started developing a vaccine rather than from right now, and it refers to how long until a vaccine can be used on an emergency basis rather than until it's approved by the FDA, Bright explained.

President Trump in recent weeks has expressed confidence there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020. Testifying before Congress earlier this week, Fauci said it's "more likely than not" there will be a vaccine within the next one to two years, and he said earlier this month having a vaccine ready by January 2021 is potentially "doable," assuming "things fall in the right place." Brendan Morrow