Race for coronavirus vaccine accelerates as cases rise

The World Health Organization is reporting 17 possible vaccines are in clinical evaluation, with one already in wide-scale human trials.
5:52 | 06/30/20

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Transcript for Race for coronavirus vaccine accelerates as cases rise
We'll continue with the race for coronavirus vaccine as infection rates soar around the country. The world health organization reporting 17 possible vaccines are in clinical evaluation with one already in wide scale human trials. Eva pilgrim joins us now with the latest on all that. Good morning, Eva. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Scientists around the world are trying to find the vaccine but experts warn it may not be a cure all. This morning, the race to find a coronavirus vaccine intensifying. I'm cautiously optimistic that we will have one or maybe more candidates of vaccines that could be available and be effective by the end of the year, the beginning of 2021. Reporter: The nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci now saying he would settle for a covid-19 vaccine that is 70% to 75% effective but that level of protection coupled with the fact that more than one in four Americans say they are unlikely to get a vaccine according to a recent ABC news/"washington post" poll raising concern for Dr. Fauci who fears that those current numbers could make it unlikely that the U.S. Will reach a level of immunity to stifle the outbreak. But finding a vaccine remains the surest path out of the pandemic. The world health organization's latest report shows 17 potential vaccines in human trials. 132 in preclinical phases. Here in the U.S. Biotech company modern is set to begin phase three human trials in July with 30,000 volunteers. 65-year-old Norman Hume was one of the early participants and part of that critical age group hit so hard by covid-19. This is cutting edge science and I'm just one small person and if I can do my little piece of this, we'll hopefully find a way out of the pandemic. Reporter: Now other drugmakers pushing forward to be part of the president's operation warp speed for a vaccine. Johnson & Johnson the largest in the world aiming to start human trials in July. If it's safe and effective, then the goal is to have it ready for distribution as quickly as possible. Reporter: While the progress so far looks P romising, success isn't a guarantee. And a lot is on the line. Experts warn finding a vaccine won't be the only challenge going forward. The biggest challenge is just the sheer number of vaccines that will be needed and we still need to know a lot about exactly what type of immune response is needed and how such a vaccine will work in people all over the world. Reporter: So what happens next if a vaccine makes it through phase 3 trials? If they can prove it is effective and safe it is likely the fda will approve it for use. Robin. That sounds promising. Eva, thank you. Dr. Jennifer Ashton is going to join us now with more. Good morning, Jen. Always good to see you and when we heard in Eva's report and it soups very promising these vaccines that are projected for the future, but are you confident that we're making progress for right now to have it as soon as possible? I think, robin, there's been incredible work done in a very short period of time but when you talk about the treatment options, think about it in terms of three general categories, immune therapy which, of course, vaccines are under that category. We're talking about things like convalescent plasma, mono colonial antibodies. Remdesivir is getting attention but many others studied and anti-inflammatories, promising data about dexamethasone and other drugs being used to block that cytokind storm seen generally in the second phase of severe covid-19 so there is some encouraging progress, yes. Good to hear that. Remdesivir, you just mentioned that among the other ones but that's the one being talked about the most. The drug company released how much it costs. How does that compare to other treatments, the cost? Well, let's talk about the cost, robin, because it is getting a lot of attention. Gilead, the maker of remdesivir, has said that a course of remdesivir treatment which is about six vials per patient will cost about $3200. In comparison to let's say a course of some chemotherapy could be $16,000. Cost is always an issue but, again, gilead saying it is priced under value, that the pricing of a course of treatment will provide access to any and all patients who need it and they mentioned yesterday that by the end of 2020 they will have committed $1 billion in terms of development and manufacturing of remdesivir, so high costs involved for sure. That's for sure. Besides drugs, what are doctors learning about how to treat patients with coronavirus? They're learning a lot. Critical care specialists, pulmonologists really learning new treatments, one of them, that proning positioning of turning patients over so that they can get better oxygenation in their blood, delaying intubation as long as possible and every single day they're learning about this virus. Yeah, and that's so important because you said at the very beginning there was so much that we didn't know but we are starting to learn more and that is being very helpful, isn't it, Jen? For sure, robin. All right. Thanks. Have a great day.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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