WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump mentioned on Friday the U.S. authorities was working with other countries to develop, shortly, a vaccine to stop an infection by the coronavirus whereas additionally making ready for its distribution as soon as one is prepared.
At an occasion within the White House Rose Garden, through which many administration officers wore masks however the president didn’t, Trump expressed his hope that a vaccine can be in place earlier than the top of the yr, and mentioned his administration would mobilize its forces to get a vaccine distributed.
Trump mentioned the federal government would put money into all the highest coronavirus vaccine candidates, and mentioned an inventory had been narrowed to 14 promising potential vaccines with a plan to slender additional.
Former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) government Moncef Slaoui, who Trump has tapped to assist spearhead the vaccine effort, expressed optimism that progress can be made earlier than the top of the yr.
“I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine. And these data made me feel even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020,” he mentioned.
Slaoui didn’t point out which vaccine, however one developed by Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) with assist from the National Institutes of Health just lately gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance to the subsequent section of scientific trials. Slaoui had been a Moderna board member earlier than taking on his new U.S. publish.
Experts have warned that it will doubtless take 12 to 18 months or extra to get a vaccine prepared for the general public. The president has sought to hurry up that time-frame whereas additionally taking part in down the necessity for a vaccine as he encourages U.S. states to reopen their economies.
At his Rose Garden occasion the president made clear his view that the nation might transfer on from the epidemic with out one.
“Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back,” Trump mentioned.
The president, who took criticism for not coordinating with European countries over journey restrictions within the early phases of the pandemic, mentioned the world was cooperating to develop a vaccine.
“We’ve got countries that are allies … we have some countries, frankly, that aren’t allies where we’re working very closely together,” Trump mentioned. “We have no ego. Whoever gets it, we think it’s great. We’re going to work with them. They’re going to work with us.”
Trump’s vaccine effort has been dubbed “Operation Warp Speed” and entails the U.S. authorities, army, and trade. In addition to Slaoui, the president mentioned General Gus Perna, Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, would oversee logistics.
“While we accelerate the final phases of vaccine trials, Operation Warp Speed will be simultaneously accelerating its manufacturing and manufacturing process,” Trump mentioned. “In other words, we’re getting ready so that when we get the good word – that we have the vaccine, we have the formula, we have what we need – we’re ready to go.”
Trump mentioned the federal authorities would put money into the manufacturing of prime vaccine candidates earlier than they have been authorized. He mentioned the trouble would additionally embody strikes to ramp up manufacturing of provides wanted for the eventual distribution of a vaccine.
“When a vaccine is ready, the U.S. government will deploy every plane, truck, and soldier required to help distribute it to the American people as quickly as possible,” he mentioned.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; extra reporting by Lisa Lambert, Timothy Ahmann and Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot