The top U.S. infectious disease specialist called the coronavirus pandemic his “worst nightmare” and warned that the deadly outbreak is far from over.

In just a few months, Covid-19 has devastated countries around the world, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday in online comments to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, an industry group.

Societies, businesses and economies have all suffered as people have sequestered themselves to prevent the spread of the virus and inundation of health systems with severely ill patients. Now that some nations and states are emerging from lockdowns, there’s still a risk that the virus will also return, Fauci said.

The infection won’t “burn itself out with mere public health measures,” he said. “We’re going to need a vaccine for the entire world, billions and billions of doses.”

The U.S. federal government is planning to fund and undertake the studies of three experimental coronavirus vaccines starting this summer, Dow Jones reported, citing an interview with John Mascola, director of the vaccine research center at NIAID.

The phase three trials are due to involve tens of thousands of people at dozens of sites around the U.S., Mascola said. They would mark the final stage of testing of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

Three Projects
Moderna Inc.’s vaccine will be the first in July, followed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca PLC’s shot in August and Johnson & Johnson’s jab in September. A Moderna spokesman confirmed the plan, an AstraZeneca spokeswoman couldn’t confirm the start date and a J&J spokesman declined to comment to Dow Jones.

Fauci, the head of the infectious disease agency since 1984, has emerged early on as one of the leading voices in the battle by President Donald Trump’s administration against the pandemic. His statements have sometime run counter to the president’s on topics such as when and whether restrictions should be eased, and he and the White House virus task force have recently been sidelined with fewer appearances before the media.

The U.S. has more coronavirus cases than any other country, with about 2 million, and leads the world in pandemic deaths with more than 112,000. Meanwhile, as states such as New Jersey lift stay-at-home orders, Trump has cheered the revival of U.S. employment numbers and stock-market gains.

More than 100 vaccines are in development against the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.