Coronavirus | Donald Trump hopeful of having vaccine by year-end

US President Donald Trump makes his way through the Colonnades to speak on vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on May 15, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 U.S. President Donald Trump said he hopes there will be a COVID–19 vaccine by the end of the year while officially announcing a new effort to combat COVID-19 , Operation Warp Speed.

“Its [Operation Warp Speed’s] objective is to finish developing and then to manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as fast as possible. Again, we’d love to see if we could do it prior to the end of the year,”  Mr Trump said at a press conference in the Rose Garden on Friday, flanked by officials including Health  and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

Also read: U.S. was attacked, says Trump on coronavirus pandemic

Mr Trump said  former head of vaccines at pharma company GlaxoSmithKline, Moncef Slaoui and General Gustave Perna who heads the U.S. Army’s Material Command would lead the vaccine development and  distribution effort.

Mr Trump said that roughly 100 vaccine candidates from around the world were evaluated of which 14 were considered promising and the list is being narrowed further.

Mr Trump’s claims around the coronavirus and the U.S.’s response to it  have often been at odds with the facts on the ground. Experts, including members, current and former, of his own administration have cast doubt on how quickly a vaccine can be ready for large scale distribution. Rick Bright, a vaccine official turned whistleblower who had been removed from his role, recently told the U.S. Congress that even a 12-18 month framework for vaccines was optimistic.

Also read: Disastrous decision: On Trump halting funds to WHO

However, the President’s  timescale for vaccine production was echoed by Mr Slaoui.

“I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine.  And this 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,” Mr Slaoui said.

Mr. Trump also said that the U.S. was working with other countries on developing the vaccine and with “no ego.”

“We want to get to the solution.  We know exactly where the other countries are, and we’ll be very happy if they are able to do it.  We’ll help them with delivery.  We’ll help them with -- in every way we can.  We have no ego when it comes to this.  No ego whatsoever,” he said.

In response to a request for a message to Indian Americans, Mr Trump said India and the U.S. were working together and that many Indian Americans were working on the vaccine.

“And we're working very much with India too.  And we have a tremendous Indian population in the United States.  And many of the people that you're talking about are working on the vaccine too.  Great scientists and researchers,” he said.

U.S. to donate ventilators to India

As he was about to depart the White House for Camp David Mr Trump told reporters he was sending ventilators to India, a subject he also  tweeted about.

“I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India. We stand with India and @narendramodi during this pandemic. We’re also cooperating on vaccine development. Together we will beat the invisible enemy!”

The Hindu has reached out to the White House for a comment on the number of ventilators being sent to India.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:04:45 AM |

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