A COVID-19 vaccine by Election Day is “highly unlikely,” a senior Trump administration official close to the coronavirus task force told CNN, countering the president’s assertion that such a timeline is possible.
“Metaphysically possible. But highly unlikely,” the official said, adding that there’s nevertheless cause to expect that a vaccine will be available in the coming months.
“There will be lots to talk about, for sure,” the official said, CNN reported. “The trials are going very well.”
A likelier target date for a vaccine is early 2021 around Inauguration Day in January, which the official also said is “optimistic.”
The official’s comments came a day after President Donald Trump suggested a vaccine could be available by Election Day, if not before.
There is currently no cure or treatment for COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
As of Friday, more than 19 million cases have been diagnosed worldwide, including 716,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The U.S. accounts for roughly a quarter of both totals, with 4.9 million confirmed cases and more than 160,000 deaths.