US President Donald trump on Monday announced a “operation warp speed” plan to speed up research on covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests, and said he expects to develop a new covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year.
Trump announced at a press conference at the White House that the initiative, which aims to advance the development, manufacture and distribution of a covid-19 vaccine, will be led by former head of the vaccine division of the British pharmaceutical company glaxosmithkline, moncef slaoui, and the head of the U.S. army equipment command, gustav pellner.
Normally, if all goes well, it takes 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine.But Mr Trump wants to speed up the process, saying operation warp speed means big and fast, and that he expects to have a covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
Mr Trump said us government experts had been assessing about 100 vaccine candidates around the world and had found 14 of them promising and were working to narrow the list further.In addition, pharmaceutical companies often wait until a vaccine is approved before starting production, which can delay making it available to the public.Given the urgency of the task at hand, under operation warp speed, the federal government will invest in the production of the most promising candidate vaccines before they are approved.
Trump did not disclose details of operation warp speed’s implementation or how the program would be funded, other than to mention the involvement of the government’s internal medical and health departments and the military.
Currently, phase I clinical trials of two covid-19 vaccines have been conducted in the United States: the mra-1273 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine and ino-4800 deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) vaccine.
Speaking at the same press conference, Mr. Slaoui said he had recently seen early data from clinical trials of the covid-19 vaccine, making him ‘more confident’ that hundreds of millions of doses will be available by the end of the year.