Speed Reads

Solving COVID

Former FDA commissioner says COVID-19 pandemic could be 'effectively' ended in 2021

In light of highly encouraging vaccine data from Pfizer and Moderna, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicts the COVID-19 pandemic can be "effectively" ended in 2021.

Gottlieb spoke with CNBC on Monday about Moderna's "great result" after the company said preliminary phase three data suggested its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 94.5 percent effective. This announcement came a week after Pfizer said data suggested its own coronavirus vaccine candidate is more than 90 percent effective. If this data holds, Gottlieb told CNBC, "we may have two highly effective vaccines" against the coronavirus.

"Once we get these vaccines in sufficient quantities heading into 2021, the combination of the fact that a lot of the population will have already had COVID, combined with the fact that we'll be vaccinating the public with a highly effective vaccine, we could effectively end this pandemic in 2021 with our technology," Gottlieb said.

Both vaccines still need to receive FDA approval. But if they do, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has predicted the general public could potentially receive a COVID-19 vaccine by April 2021.

Gottlieb added on Twitter that "the acute phase of the U.S. pandemic will end in 2021." But for now, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike around the country, Gottlieb added that "we must work together to get through the next 3 months." Brendan Morrow