The nation's top infectious disease expert spoke with Winston-Salem State University's Chancellor Elwood Robinson Tuesday, with Dr. Anthony Fauci giving an update on the search for a coronavirus vaccine.

Fauci says a promising candidate for a vaccine could go into testing for effectiveness next month, and a second option could be ready for trials in August.

He says it gives him hope that we'll know if one of them works out by the end of the year.

“I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll have a vaccine of some sort as we enter 2021,” he says. 

Still, he notes, there's no guarantee that any of the vaccines being tested will ultimately work.

Fauci also told Chancellor Robinson that he's worried about the potential combination of the pandemic with the flu season, which typically starts here in late fall. 

Fauci pointed out that we're still in the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak so it's hard to know what the pandemic will look like when the flu hits.

Fauci says the two viral infections have similar symptoms which will make it hard for doctors to tell them apart. So, having a system in place for testing and contact tracing will be even more important. And he says people should make sure to get a flu shot “so you can keep the flu levels down, and you can focus more on the possibility of the return of COVID-19,” he says. “It's going to be very, very complicated.”

Fauci has advised six presidents on the science of infectious diseases, notably HIV/AIDS. He is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. 

Fauci spoke to Chancellor Robinson on a Facebook Live video stream.

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