Testifying virtually, Fauci delivered his opening statement, offering lawmakers a test of all the different efforts underway to find cures – using, in many cases, broad-spectrum antivirals – and vaccines.
Notably, Fauci noted several caveats, one being that Gilead’s Remdesivir has proven to be a “modest success” by the results so far – it’s not the ‘game-changer’ the market would like to believe.
Fauci also noted that some of the vaccine trials could cause harm to test subjects, while listing at least 8 vaccines (including Moderna’s) in some stage of development.
Here’s the exact quote on remdesivir (h/t to FT):
“Let me take a moment to describe a placebo-controlled randomised trial, which was done internationally, with a power of more than 1,000 individuals and sites throughout the world.
It was in hospitalised patients with lung disease, the endpoint was primarily time to recovery.
The result was statistically significant, but really modest, and we must remember it was only a modest result, showing that the drug made a 31 per cent faster time recovery.”
While he couldn’t say much more at the moment, Fauci reiterated that he hopes to know more about the progress in developing a vaccine by late fall, or early winter.
Earlier, GOP Senator Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, turned on Trump and warned that the US doesn’t have enough tests to reopen, even as his home state trudges ahead with its gradual reopening. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said the US doesn’t have enough tests to reopen yet despite what Trump said about “prevailing” in the test ramp-up.
Fauci also emphasized the importance of testing, and warned states not to reopen “prematurely”.
Fauci has a simple message for the states to be delivered during his Tuesday testimony before the Senate HELP (that’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee:
Moving to reopen states too quickly could risk a deadly resurgence of the outbreak.
Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist and a key member of President Donald Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, reportedly plans to publicly warn states Tuesday that prematurely reopening their economies will cause “needless suffering and death.”
On Monday night, The New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported that Fauci had sent her an email ahead of his public testimony the following day at a hearing of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci wrote in the email, which Stolberg posted on Twitter.
“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal,” wrote Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci’s message comes just one day after PA Gov Tom Wolf slammed Trump for pressuring him to reopen his state (which has done an excellent job of flattening the curve) more quickly (the governor was reportedly pushing for another delay).
Notably, PA is an important swing state, which Trump won by just ~50k votes out of more than 6 million cast back in 2016 (the narrowest margin for a victorious president-elect in the state’s history).
Most of the mainstream press pointed out that Fauci’s message would seem to put him “at odds” with President Trump (who has once again been pushing states to reopen more quickly.
Though PA was among the states with a more serious outbreak, state officials have done a remarkable job flattening the curve. As of Tuesday morning, the state had roughly 57k confirmed cases.