dvancements are being made on COVID-19 testing and a vaccine, but challenges remain, said two health care industry leaders during a July 9 virtual discussion as part of the presidential speaker series, The Way Forward.
“I think they’re improving tests as they go,” said William Weldon ‘71, former chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and a member of several boards of directors including Quinnipiac and CVS. “The tests are coming along quickly. I think the more pressing question is access to them.” Watch the full recap
Although he described the testing as coming along “rapidly,” he said the bigger challenge is the lag time between learning results and — the biggest challenge — development and distribution of a vaccine.
“I think there's like 120 companies that are working on vaccines today — and I think most of them are actually rooting for each other because no one company is going to be able to satisfy the international need for vaccines,” he said. "The big challenge is going to be getting them approved… I don't see a vaccine, personally, until early next year or the middle of next year, and especially at the volume that is going to be necessary because manufacturing is going to be the limiting factor.”
He said he anticipates a vaccine that looks promising toward the end of this year, but it wouldn’t be until the beginning or middle of next year before one becomes available to the general public.
Dr. David Feinberg, vice president of Google Health, agreed, adding that being able to create a vaccine available across the country and worldwide is “going to take a lot of really thoughtful clinical trials.”
Google is focused on providing a place to get accurate, up-to-date information, he said.
“We're really, really focused on providing authoritative information,” Feinberg said. “We want to make sure that misinformation, which we battle on anti-vaccine issues, doesn't get hold here so that people get the right information, and can make the right decision with their health care provider about whether a vaccine is appropriate for them or their family or their loved ones.”