(BBC) – The head of the US drugs regulator has cast doubt on President Donald Trump’s prediction that a Covid-19 vaccine will be ready this year.
“I can’t predict when a vaccine will be available,” US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Dr Stephen Hahn, said on Sunday.
Dr Hahn said vaccine development would be “based upon the data and science”.
A vaccine would train people’s immune systems to fight the virus, so they do not become sick.
Dr Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, was asked about the timeframe after President Trump suggested that a “vaccine solution” to the pandemic would be ready “long before the end of the year”.
“I want to send our thanks to the scientists and researchers around the country, and even around the world, who are at the forefront of our historic effort to rapidly develop and deliver life-saving treatments and ultimately a vaccine,” Mr Trump said during his Independence Day address at the White House.
“We are unleashing our nation’s scientific brilliance and we’ll likely have a therapeutic and/or vaccine solution long before the end of the year.”
The president has been criticised for his comments on vaccines and treatments during the coronavirus epidemic, which has claimed the lives of almost 130,000 people in the US.
In recent days, infections have been rising at a record rate in western and southern states, bringing the total to more than 2.8 million nationwide.