Trump upbeat on three coronavirus vaccine candidates

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday voiced optimism the United States would soon come up with a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, saying three vaccine candidates were looking especially good.

“Three are really, really looking good,” Trump said at an event at the White House, without providing details. “We think we’re going to have it soon.”

U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said earlier on Thursday that he was optimistic the Trump administration’s vaccine-acceleration program “Operation Warp Speed” will generate a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 by year-end and can meet a target of making 300 million doses by early 2021. [nL1N2E91B7]

Speaking at a U.S. Senate hearing, Collins said the United States aimed to have the ability to conduct a million rapid, on-site COVID-19 tests per day some time around September to enable the reopening of schools and resumption of sports events.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said last month that the administration aimed to narrow its financial support to about seven experimental coronavirus vaccines from the previous 14. [nL4N2DT3KH]

The number of U.S. COVID-19 infections has surged over the past week, with daily figures setting new records several times fueled by outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Howard Goller