Dr. Anthony Fauci says he's worried about rushing out a COVID-19 vaccine without compelling evidence it is "both safe and effective."
But in an interview with Newsy's partners at Kaiser Health News, the nation's top infectious disease official also said clinical researchers have a "moral obligation" to make vaccines readily available if interim test results are overwhelmingly positive.
In that case, Fauci said, an independent board could end a clinical trial early and authorize distribution of a vaccine if (quote) "The data is so good right now that you can say it's safe and effective."
Fauci also said clinical trials for a particular drug can be ended early if interim results on its effectiveness are overwhelmingly negative. Otherwise, he said, researchers should not feel political pressure to rush through clinical trials.
Two leading medical scholars recently wrote in the New York Times that they fear President Trump may try to rush a vaccine into use before the November election without thorough testing.
A Kaiser Health News investigation found the U.S. may not have the money to roll one out. While the U.S. has invested $10 billion to develop a vaccine, the report said, funds are still lacking for public outreach and staff for administering hundreds of millions of doses.
Researchers globally are currently testing 36 potential vaccines in human trials. Three pharmaceutical ventures - AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/Bio N Tech - have started advanced, phase 3 vaccine trials in the U.S.
Contains footage from CNN.