WASHINGTON – Leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned Congress Tuesday that while the federal government is working to help make a vaccine against the new coronavirus, its development “may take some time” to hit the market.
As a result, Fauci told the Senate Health Committee in prepared testimony, that the nation’s efforts to combat the virus by a deadline and the disease it causes, COVID-19, should “focus on proven containment practices. and public health mitigation. ”
This is the first Senate hearing with witnesses and the commission chairman remotely due to the pandemic.
Fauci, who is in quarantine for having been in contact with a White House official who tested positive for COVID-19, told the Senate Health commission that states should not proceed without first complying with the administration’s guidelines. which establishes 1 day of declining cases. “If we skip checkpoints … we risk multiple outbreaks across the country,” Fauci said.
“This will not only result in unnecessary suffering and death but will actually slow us down in our quest to return to normal,” he added.
Fauci testifies Tuesday in the Republican-controlled Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee after the White House blocked the 79-year-old infectious disease expert from testifying before a House of Representatives panel. controlled by Democrats, calling it “counterproductive.”
“All the ways back to work and back to school go through tests and what our country has done so far on tests is impressive, but not enough,” said Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate committee, in an opening statement at the hearing on Tuesday.
Alexander is quarantined in his home state of Tennessee for 14 days after a staff member tested positive. Alexander presided over the audience virtually.
FDA works to close the gap
Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, who also testifies remotely, said the agency is working to bridge the gap between now and when a vaccine could be made available through therapeutics.
The goal, he said, is to accelerate the development and review of antiviral and antibody medications, as well as convalescent plasma products.
Hahn said the agency has created an emergency program to carry out such reviews and is using “all available authorities and flexibility that are appropriate.”