We 'hope (COVID-19) will pass without a vaccine ... but we don't think so': Stoffels

George Stephanopoulos interviews Paul Stoffels and George Yancopoulos on "This Week."
6:02 | 05/10/20

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Transcript for We 'hope (COVID-19) will pass without a vaccine ... but we don't think so': Stoffels
I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go again. It's going to go away. We're not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time. I think great progress is being made by Johnson & Johnson and oxford and some others. I see nyu is very advanced. But if you don't get it, this is going to go away at some point. President trump bucking the conventional wisdom on Friday. Most experts agree that we can't get fully back to business without more effective treatments and a vaccine. We're joined by two top executives working on that, Dr. Paul Stoffels and Dr. George yancopoulos. Thank you both for joining us. Dr. Stoffels, let me begin with you, will this pass without a vaccine and where do things stand with what you're working on right now? Well, we all hope it will pass without a vaccine because that would be great if the disease goes away very quickly. But we don't think so. It's now spreading around so fast and so significant that we need a vaccine to control it. Where are we? We are preparing clinical trials and we start clinical trials in September and hopefully have data by the end of the year, as well as now working towards 1 billion vaccines for next year. We're upscaling manufacturing and we start producing late in the year with the aim of delivering 1 billion of vaccines next year. So that's all next year, is there any possibility that the hope that the president had called for earlier in the week that there could be some effective vaccine in 2020, is that realistic at all? Well, clinical trials will need to be done to show it's effective. That will take some time. We'll have some vaccine available this year it will depends on the authorities, the fda and others to decide whether it can be used earlier before efficacy data are available. Dr. Yancopoulos, you're working on an antibody cocktail to both treat and prevent covid. Where do things stand with that combination right now? We're on track to go into clinical trials in about a month, in June. And if all goes well, it's possible that within a month or two after that we'd actually have data that our antibody cocktail can be an important stopgap until we get a safe and effective vaccine. It could prevent disease in people who aren't infected. Even treat people who are in either early or late stages of the disease. It might be possible that if all goes well, hundreds of thousands of doses of this could be available by the end of the summer. Can you explain a little bit about how that works, how can you prevent something that's not a vaccine actually prevent the transmission? What a vaccine does, as we all know, it generates immunity in the person who gets the vaccine. What's that immunity? Those are antibodies against the virus. What we developed is technologies that allow us to make exactly these antibodies that the body makes in response to the vaccine. We make them outside of the body. We scale them up in bioreactors and then we inject them into people, and immediately it's as if they've been vaccinated. It's a passive vaccine because it doesn't depend on the body having to make the response itself. It can work much faster than a regular vaccine. Of course, vaccines can provide permanent immunity to much larger number of people. That's why we need all of these efforts the sort of efforts that j&j and others are doing to provide these immediate sources of both prevention and treatment that can have an impact until we get the vaccine. And Dr. Stoffels, as you all are working on that vaccine, how do you also solve the problem, something that's safe, of getting it out on a large scale around the world at an affordable price? Well, we have a very effective manufacturing procedure where we can produce up to 3 million out of liter vessel. We're now multiplying those manufacturing sites. We'll have four, five facilities available where we can start producing from and that will give a more than a billion vaccines in the course of next year. It's the science and technology where we have the platform that allows us to go that fast and in those quantities. What's also important is, the vaccine is stable, you can transport it around the world in order to make sure everyone can get access, from north to south, east to west, the entire world probably will need a vaccine and that's what we're working on. Dr. Yancopoulos, as we're trying to rush this market that it's done in the safest manner possible? I think the most important thing -- you already heard from Dr. Stoffels, is that we have a strong and powerful set of technologies throughout the ecosystem, in basic research and in industry, that allows us to fight these battles when they appear. So we have to be ready and we have to make enormous investments as society, both in the nih, we have to up our game there. But also to support, have a robust set of industries and companies that can come forward and try to fight this epidemic when it occurs. Being ready is making those sort of investments beforehand. Thank you both very much.

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

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