(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is no longer capable of spreading the novel coronavirus and can attend a town hall on Thursday without putting others at risk, top U.S. public health official Anthony Fauci said in an interview with CBS Evening News.
Fauci said that he and his colleague Clifford Lane at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded this after reviewing all the COVID-19 tests taken by the president as well as an additional test conducted at an NIH laboratory.
Trump revealed early on Oct. 2 that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He said he had recovered and was no longer contagious the following week.
The town hall with NBC News is less than three weeks before the election in which Republican Trump is trailing Democratic candidate Joe Biden in opinion polls.
Fauci also said in the CBS interview that the United States was unlikely to have 100 million doses of a vaccine deemed by regulators as “safe and effective” available by the end of the year, contrary to a claim Trump made in September.
Enough vaccines to inoculate the general population might be possible by April 2021 if all of the experimental vaccines in late stage clinical trials prove effective, Fauci said. A couple of the vaccine candidates could potentially receive regulatory clearance in November or December but only “a few million” doses may be available to the public by year-end.
He added that the experimental antibody drug made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc that was used to treat the President, and which Trump said he wants to make free to all Americans, is not yet available in sufficient supply to provide to all COVID-19 patients. It is still awaiting U.S. regulatory clearance.
Reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool
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