President Donald Trump announced Friday at the White House that he has selected two distinguished people to lead his “Operation Warp Speed” project to fast-track the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
The project will be led by Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division, and Army General Gustave Perna. Slaoui will oversee the vaccine development for “Operation Warp Speed” and Perna will serve as the chief operating officer overseeing the project’s logistics.
LIVE: POTUS Delivers Remarks on Vaccine Development https://t.co/ktpk4urgB1
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 15, 2020
“I have very recently seen early data with a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine and this data made me even more confident..that we will be able to deliver a vaccine by the end of 2020,” Slaoui said. “We will do the best we can to do that.”
President Trump deemed them “two of the most highly-respected and skilled” officials when making his announcement. He is hopeful that a vaccine will be developed by the end of the year.
“This is an endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project…No one has seen anything like we’re doing now within our country since the second world war. Incredible,” Pres. Trump said. “That means big and it means fast. It’s objective is to finish developing and then to manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine…prior to the end of the year. I think we’re going to have some very good results coming out very quickly.”
President Trump was joined in the Rose Garden for his unveiling of “Operation Warp Speed” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, senior advisor Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.
The President said Saturday “will mark 30 days since we released the White House guidelines for a safe and phased opening of America.” He added that an “essential pillar” of his re-opening strategy is the “development of treatments and vaccines as quickly as possible.”
Mr. Trump added that at this point in time, the country is back on track.
“Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back,” the President said. “We’re starting the process and in many cases, they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it. You haven’t seen something like this in almost 100 years, but you fight through it, and people, sometimes…I guess, it looks like they become immune, at least for a short period…But what we’d like to do is the vaccine.”
The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed 1,393,890 and the number of fatalities from the virus has eclipsed 84,239.
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