U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN-01) said Monday that people are working, “at an unprecedented speed,” to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, although the public might not have it for a while.
But for right now, and before the market can offer that vaccine, Roe, a physician, said different regions of the United States won’t likely recover from the virus all at once.
“You will be able to phase an opening [back] of the country. New York is going to be totally different than Johnson City or Greeneville or Mountain City. Those [areas] that don’t have high a prevalence [of COVID-19] will be able to go back to work. The thing that we want to do is to mitigate this the right way. I said this from day one when I looked at the data,” Roe said on a conference call with reporters Monday.
“It will be June before we are through with all of this. We will see the peak of this in two to three weeks. It will peak at different times in different places, and then it will go down. You have to get pretty far down on the downward curve because you don’t want to have a rebound of it. Once you have done that and you hope you have better treatments, then this turns out to be a seasonal issue, Then, hopefully, what we will have happen is we will have a vaccine to help us protect the ones we have not protected, but we have not built up [their] antibodies.”
Roe said researchers are in Phase One of a COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers generally need 50 patients for the first research phase and then 1,000 or more people for Phase Two, he said.
The market might have the vaccine within a year, Roe said.
As The Tennessee Star reported this month, Chinese officials have threatened to withhold life-saving medications to the United States during the coronavirus emergency.
Roe said at the time that the United States has a sizable stockpile of medication “already in the pipeline.”
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