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The coronavirus pandemic has raged through the U.S. for close to a year now, and one man has been a consistent face through it all: White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD. The infectious disease expert has long been sharing guidance on how to fight the spread of COVID, but he's also been heavily involved in the development of the coronavirus vaccine. Fauci recently shared a pivotal moment from the past year, admitting that hearing five words about the COVID vaccine made him cry. Keep reading to find out what made Fauci so emotional, and for more vaccine news, Moderna's Chief Medical Officer Just Gave This Upsetting Update.
Fauci said he cried after receiving a phone call from the Pfizer CEO.
During an interview with NBC affiliate LX News, Fauci recalled the moment he received a call from the CEO of Pfizer while sitting out on his back deck on a Sunday. "The CEO said something like, 'Are you sitting down?' And I said, 'Oh my goodness, this is either really good news or it's really bad news,' because I knew they were looking at the results," Fauci remembered. "He said, 'You're not going to believe this, but it's like 95 percent efficacious.' I started to cry. I mean, I did. It was like, 'Oh my god, this is unbelievable.'"
According to Fauci, these results exceeded his highest expectations. "I thought that a really good result would be about a 70 to 75 percent efficacy," he said. And if you're worried about staying healthy, Dr. Fauci Says You Need One of These at Home to Avoid COVID.
Experts tried a brand new method in creating the COVID vaccine.
Serving as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Fauci actually helped develop the Moderna vaccine. However, he said that the two vaccines currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—Pfizer's and Moderna's—are actually quite similar in the way they were developed. Both vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, making them the first two mRNA vaccines ever authorized by the FDA.
"We were trying a brand new platform that had never before resulted in a successful vaccine because it had never been seriously tried in as big an arena as the COVID-19 attempt to develop a vaccine. So there were a lot of people that were skeptical about that," Fauci explained. "We felt confident because the animal data and the preliminary data in phase 1 and phase 2 looked really good. So I was very hopeful that it was working." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Fauci said it was "striking" that Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines had similar results.
Shortly after the Pfizer call, Fauci said Moderna released information showing similar efficacy results from their vaccine. Official reports from the FDA say that both vaccines have "shown remarkable effectiveness of about 95 percent in preventing COVID-19 disease in adults." And according to the White House adviser, this was "striking" given that the two vaccines were created and tested separately from each other.
"It's scientifically interesting that two vaccines that were the same platform, with the same type of clinical trial, came out with exactly the same result—even though they were completely independently tried," Fauci said. "And in science, that's a winner, when you could do something completely separate and have results that were so similar to each other." And for more insight from the infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Says This Is the One Thing You Shouldn't Be Doing Right Now.
Fauci previously said the vaccine was his "proudest moment" of 2020.
During a Dec. 14 Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual health event, Fauci said that the development of the vaccine was also his "proudest moment" of 2020, CNN reported.
"To have a virus that was brand new, and first recognized, and sequenced in January of 2020, and then in December of 2020 … people are getting vaccine injected into their arms, with a vaccine that's 94 to 5 percent effective against clinical disease, and very, very effective against serious disease—I mean, that is a historic, unprecedented achievement," he said.
While some may remain skeptical, Fauci is confident in this vaccine development. For his part, he's received both doses of the Moderna COVID vaccine—the first on Dec. 22, and the second on Jan. 19. And for more coronavirus news, If You Have This in Your Blood, You May Be Safe From COVID, Study Says.