TUESDAY, June 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There could be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year or early next year, according to Anthony Fauci, M.D., infectious diseases chief at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Testifying before a House committee on Tuesday, Fauci said he is cautiously optimistic about a vaccine being available in that time frame but also mentioned struggles to contain the new coronavirus, the Associated Press reported.

“We’ve been hit badly,” Fauci said, adding that he is “really quite concerned” about rising community spread in some states. “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges.”

Fauci testified along with other top health officials, and none said they had been asked to slow down testing for the new coronavirus. So far, more than 27 million people in the United States have been tested, and 8.4 percent (about 2.3 million) have tested positive. About 2.3 million have become ill and about 120,000 have died, Johns Hopkins University data show, the AP reported.

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