A vaccine could be ready by January 'if everything falls into place,' Fauci says

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(CNN) - Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN's town hall that "if everything falls into place right" there could be a coronavirus vaccine by January - but there are "a number of situations that could go wrong."

An assumption of safety: "It may all of a sudden have a safety signal," he said. "If it doesn't work, it doesn't protect people. I've been involved in vaccine work for decades. Not every vaccine we went after worked. That's an assumption that it's going to be safe, that it's going to be effective and we're going to be able to do it quickly. I think each of those are not only feasible, but maybe likely. That's what I mean when I say by January we'll do it. But I can't guarantee it."

Doing things differently: Fauci said that developing a vaccine without knowing it works first is "risky" but he said it "certainly is worth the risk given what's at stake."

"What's being done now that's different than some situations are, before we know a vaccine works, we're going to have to make the vaccine. When you ultimately prove it works, you don't have to wait five or six months to scale up to get enough doses to give to a meaningful number of people. That's a risky financial circumstance, but it certainly, certainly is worth the risk given what's at stake," he said.

This story was first published on CNN.com. "A vaccine could be ready by January "if everything falls into place," Fauci says"