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Dr. Anthony Fauci told a think tank based in London, UK that upcoming coronavirus vaccines will bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic in the near future, the New York Post reports.
"Certainly it’s not going to be a pandemic for a lot longer because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around," Dr. Fauci told Chatham House. He warned, however, that it is probable that coronavirus will never truly disappear.
"I doubt we’re going to eradicate this. I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about," Fauci said.
Fauci's comments come as the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that it has produced a vaccine which is more than 90 percent effective against coronavirus. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a coronavirus needs to be 50 percent effective for it to be useful in combating the virus. It also massively outpaces the effectiveness of many flu shots, with the 2018-2019 seasonal flu shot only being 29 percent effective.
The comments also come shortly after the contentious 2020 US presidential election, where the Trump administration's handling of the ongoing pandemic became one of the most important issues of the campaign. Some commentators, such as Fox News's Tucker Carlson, questioned whether the company delayed the announcement of the vaccine in order to hurt the incumbent President's reelection chances.
"We learned on Monday that the drug company Pfizer, one of the biggest in the world, has a potentially viable coronavirus vaccine. We learned that just six days after the presidential election. You don’t need to be a crazy person to wonder about the timing there," Carlson said on air Wednesday night. "[The CEO] said we would know whether Pfizer had a workable vaccine by the end of October."
Such claims have been echoed by President Trump, who claimed over Twitter that the FDA and the Democratic Party colluded to prevent the vaccine from being announced until after the election. President Trump did not provide any evidence for his claim.
Carlson specifically pointed to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla selling 62 percent of his stock on Monday, the same day the company made the announcement. Carlson did not provide any direct evidence of collusion against the President or insider trading on the part of Bourla.
However, Dr. Daniel Taylor, an insider trading expert at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, said the timing of Bourla's stock sales was "very suspicious."
"It's wholly inappropriate for executives at pharmaceutical companies to be implementing or modifying 10b5-1 plans the business day before they announce data or results from drug trials," Taylor told NPR.
Similar concerns have also been raised about the pharmaceutical firm Moderna. Moderna executives have made tens of millions of dollars from stock trading after announcing that they have made significant progress in vaccine development despite the fact that the vaccine has not been fully developed yet. Taylor said of the executive team's trading, from "a scale of one to 10, one being less concerned and 10 being the most concerned, this is an 11."
In an investigation of Moderna's executives, NPR reported that the company's executives have modified their stock sales plans only days before the announcement of their vaccine trials entering stage 3. Stock sales plans are usually set months in advanced to refute allegations of insider trading. Additionally, many Moderna executives have liquidated 100 percent of their stocks in the company, an unusual practice for those who sit on the executive of a publicly traded company.