Health

Major Federal Project Pushing Development of COVID-19 Vaccine

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Anthony Fauci

Trump, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, said he is in overall charge of the project aimed at finding a vaccine for the virus as quickly as possible.

(CNN)President Donald Trump has essentially given "Operation Warp Speed" a blank check as the team of government officials, scientists and private companies aims to produce hundreds of millions of doses of a life-saving coronavirus vaccine by early next year.

Trump has hailed the program and said Thursday that he is personally overseeing it and promised "to fast-track it like you've never seen before". The project's goal is to develop 300 million doses of the new vaccine, or enough doses to vaccinate a majority of Americans, by January 2021, according to Bloomberg. Officials involved with the project also are considering using a so-called "master protocol" to test the potential vaccines, meaning the federal government would employ its resources to launch one large clinical trial that would test multiple vaccines at once, Bloomberg reports.

The senior administration officials who agreed to discuss the details said the 93 vaccines from several weeks ago came from more than 80 pharmaceutical companies. It will cost billions of dollars and require mass production of vaccine candidates that may fail (rendering them useless), so the ones that don't are ready to be distributed widely upon approval.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly cautioned that a vaccine for the virus would take between a year and 18 months.

Under Bright's leadership, BARDA recently announced almost US$1 billion (RM4.34 billion) in support of vaccine manufacturing efforts by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Even that timeline would be considered breakneck speed.

The latest Trump administration efforts to speed vaccine development were originally reported by Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter. That vaccine took four years to develop.

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