New treatment options for covid-19 could arrive months before even the most optimistic timeline for a vaccine, senior Trump administration officials said at a briefing Monday. But limited supply could outstrip demand if the pandemic continues to rage, creating a national tug-of-war over limited doses.
“Vaccines are the permanent hope for controlling this outbreak, but even with success, some people may not respond to vaccines and some may not get vaccinated, so we are always going to need therapeutics,” said Janet Woodcock, who is leading the therapeutics effort under Operation Warp Speed and is a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration commissioner. Warp Speed is a federal government initiative to speed up the development of countermeasures against the coronavirus.
Unlike vaccines, Woodcock said, therapeutics have to be developed against multiple facets of the infection, including antiviral treatments that target the virus and medication that quells the out-of-control immune storm that causes the most severe illness.