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The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions June 30 in Washington, DC.
The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions June 30 in Washington, DC. Al Drago / Pool via AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, says the country is on the way to finding treatments that will help prevent the spread of Covid-19 disease, especially for those most likely to become extremely sick.

“What we really need, and we are close to getting, are interventions that can be done at the onset of the disease to prevent vulnerable people from progressing to hospital conditions,” said Fauci during from a webinar with the Stanford School of Medicine on Monday.

“And these are direct antiviral drugs, convalescent plasma, hyperimmunoglobulin, monoclonal antibodies and a number of direct acting antiviral agents,” added Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases . “I think we are on the right track to get there fairly quickly.

He also said he believed a vaccine could be shown to be effective by the end of the year or early next year. Regarding treatments, Fauci said that based on his experience in developing treatments for Ebola, he believed that treatments with monoclonal antibodies were “almost a safe bet.”

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made antibodies that are created specifically to target infection. Antibodies are the proteins that the body naturally produces to fight infection. Vaccines are built on the same idea, but they take a few weeks to work and don’t help if someone is already sick. Antibody therapies can work immediately.

In the United States, a few clinical trials are already underway. Based on these trials, a treatment could be approved for use as early as fall or winter, said Fauci.

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