Dr. Fauci offers 2021 forecast on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments
Nov 9, 2020
SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and various new treatments for COVID-19 may be on their way even before 2020 ends, but the damage caused by the deadly novel coronavirus may linger for months or even years, said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, during an exclusive interview on Saturday.
In his interview with AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, Dr. Fauci said no one is certain how long vaccine protection will last.
He added that physicians and other health professionals in hospitals are learning more about how to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, cutting the COVID-19 mortality rate in the U.S. Dr. Fauci said:
“We just get better at treating the disease. We know what works, what doesn’t work,” he said. Experience has taught doctors more about whether to put people on ventilators, how much oxygen to provide during intubation, and managing the treatment process.
“We know that dexamethasone clearly diminishes the death rate in people requiring mechanical ventilation and/or people who require high-flow oxygen. We have remdesivir for hospitalized patients who have lung involvement. And we are starting to see a younger population get infected.”
However, while the death rate is improving, the effect of the virus may linger longer than the diagnosed infection. Dr. Fauci said:
“We do know for absolutely certain that there is a post-COVID syndrome. Anywhere from 25% to 35%—or more—have lingering symptoms well beyond what you would expect from any post viral syndrome like influenza and others. It’s fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, dysautonomia, sleep disturbances and what people refer to as brain fog,” he said, or an inability to focus or concentrate.
“That can last anywhere from weeks to months.”
Cardiologists also report that even among asymptomatic COVID patients, about 60% have some indication of inflammation of the heart which may or may not have a future effect on cardiac health.
A patient and a physician shared their experiences as COVID-19 long haulers during a recent episode of the “AMA COVID-19 Update.”
Vaccines are on the way
Vaccines are the hope of the future and they are on their way, Dr. Fauci said, with six candidates already at various stages of clinical trials and testing …
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW: