Dr. Fauci says understanding COVID-19 antibodies could take up to a year

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In a senate hearing on COVID-19, the nation's top disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed concerns about the direction the U.S. is heading with positive cases.

Without adequate testing, face masks and social distancing, Fauci said cases could jump from 40,000 a day to more than 100,000 nationwide.

This also comes as Texas sets another record with nearly 7,000 new cases reported in a single day.

"If you look at what's going on and just look at some of the film clips that you've seen, people congregating, often without mask, of being in crowds, and jumping over and avoiding and not paying attention to the guidelines that we've put out, we're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," Fauci said.

He said it could also be months or up to a year before U.S. disease experts can definitively answer questions about the role antibodies play following a COVID infection.

"We've seen people recover from a COVID infection and find out they don't have high levels of antibodies," Fauci said.

If clinical trials prove successful, we could see a COVID vaccine as soon as early 2021.

Next month Moderna, a biotech company, will begin phase three of its coronavirus vaccine testing, which will include about 30,000 participants in the U.S.

Meanwhile, biotech company Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that its experimental coronavirus vaccine successfully passed phase one of clinical trials as the company races to produce the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

"The American people should know that we have not lost sight of our responsibility to maintain a regulatory independence and ensure that our decisions related to all medical products, including COVID-19 vaccines, are based on sound science and the available data," said Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.

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