The effort aims to dramatically cut short the usual development time for a vaccine. It’s not clear whether the project could realistically meet that goal.
The official said pharmaceutical companies and government researchers would work together to beat that timeline, in what’s described as a Manhattan Project-like effort.
As a result, the scientific community has faced immense pressure to find a vaccine — a process that is typically measured in years, not months.
Vaccine trials usually start with testing in animals before launching into a three-phase process. The first phase involves injecting the vaccine into a small group of people to assess safety and monitor their immune response.
The second phase ramps up the number of people — often into the hundreds, and often including more members of at-risk groups — for a randomized trial.
If the results are promising, the trial moves to phase-three test for efficacy and safety with thousands or tens of thousands of people, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted the possibility of having a vaccine in a short time frame.
“And I’ve heard pretty much a year would be an outside number. So I think that’s not a bad range. But if you’re talking about three to four months in a couple of cases, a year in other cases,” he said.
The authorization could come as soon as Wednesday, The Times reported, citing a senior administration official.
In a statement to CNN, the FDA said it is in talks with Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, about making the drug available to patients.
“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci said of the drug.
Results from the preliminary trial show remdesivir improved recovery time for coronavirus patients from 15 to 11 days.
This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.
CNN’s Robert Kuznia contributed to this report.