“I’m a vaccine optimist, “ said Julie Gerberding, the chief patient officer at Merck and a former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gerberding joined STAT’s Helen Branswell for a wide-ranging discussion of efforts, including those by Merck, to create a vaccine against Covid-19. In the interview, Gerberding said she didn’t see a single winner in the “race” to develop a vaccine.

“I doubt we’re going to have one vaccine, to win the race that everyone is talking about,” she said. “I think in the end we’re going to benefit from having more than one vaccine.”

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Gerberding also weighed in on how quickly vaccines can be approved and still be safe, the controversial topic of challenge studies that would expose sick people to the virus, and the need to develop vaccines against germs that could cause the next pandemic (“there are always going to be pathogens that we haven’t imagined.”)

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