"We feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021."
Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci again signaled hope for a vaccine in the coming months at a House congressional panel on Friday.
Fauci, who testified alongside the CDC Director and the assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, addressed concerns that the vaccine trials were moving too fast.
"I know to some people this seems like it is so fast that there might be compromising of safety and scientific integrity, I can tell you that's absolutely not the case."
Democrats in the committee, like Chair Jim Clyburn, sought to hold the Trump administration accountable for what they saw as a failure in leadership on the virus.
"The Trump administration downplayed the crisis."
While Republicans said the Trump administration has provided effective plans for schools and employers.
(Rep. Steve Scalise): "This is just a small part of President Trump's plan to combat the coronavirus."
One Republican - Representative Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump ally - grilled Fauci and pushed for his opinion on whether anti-racism protests should be curbed or eliminated to control the pandemic.
(Rep. Jim Jordan): "Should we limit the protesting?"
(Dr. Fauci): “Well I'm not in the position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way."
(Rep. Jim Jordan): "You make all kinds of recommendations. You make comments on dating, on baseball and everything you could imagine."
(Dr. Fauci): "I'm not favoring anybody over anybody. I'm just making a statement that's a broad statement that avoid crowds of any type no matter where you are..."
Fauci's testimony comes at the end of a month when the U.S. coronavirus death toll rose by almost 25,000 and cases doubled in at least 18 states, according to a Reuters tally.
The United States has recorded more than 4 million infections so far and the total number of deaths has risen to more than 152,000.