Coronavirus test in France
Coronavirus test in FranceReuters

The editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine talks about what we’re learning about the coronavirus and how that might shape the month to come.

Dr. Eric Rubin says that “Vaccination would be the ultimate tool. We certainly aren't going to have vaccines [right away], but we're going to start to get animal studies and such that tell us whether the vaccine candidates that are in trials now look like they have a good chance of working. Now, don't get me wrong, it's still going to take a very long time for a vaccine, even if it looks effective to get out there, because the big issue with vaccines is whether or not they're safe. And the only way to test that is by testing progressively larger numbers of people over time. But that would be, obviously, the game changer in all of this.”

"We're going to have more testing. The question about tests is, how do we use them appropriately? Right now, we're in a position where we are testing people who are already sick. And that's valuable for those individuals, but not so valuable from a public health standpoint. And I think what's going to be important is to test people who aren't sick, people who are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, so we can start to implement strategies such as quarantine and have the surveillance to figure out what's going on out there. Right now, it's kind of a big black box,” he added.

“In wartime, we do extraordinary things and we change some of the norms that we've established. I think we're seeing a lot of that right now. I don't think that people are so resistant to the idea that dramatic times call for dramatic measures. That means we need some will, and my sense is the will is there, and we need some leadership — and that is a little more variable right now.”