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Slaoui confident ‘few hundred million’ COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available by year-end

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Moncef Slaoui, the former GSK executive named chief scientist of the COVID-19 vaccine acceleration program, said he has “seen early data from a clinical trial” that gave him confidence “that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses” of an undisclosed COVID-19 vaccine by year-end.

Friday’s Rose Garden briefing unveiled Operation Warp Speed to bring together experts from NIH, CDC and FDA to combat the pandemic. “That means big and it means fast,” Trump said, before comparing it to the Manhattan Project.

Trump only mentioned the cost of Warp Speed once, and did not provide specifics, saying “it’s risky, it’s expensive, but we’ll be saving massive amounts of time.”

Slaoui, who is the former chair of vaccines for GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK), will lead the program’s research and clinical development, and Gustave Perna, a four-star Army general and Warp Speed’s COO will reorient military resources to support the logistics of dose deliveries on a large scale.

Trump said the vaccine will be made in the U.S. but said the country is prepared to work with other nations, adding “we have no ego when it comes to this.”

At the briefing, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said FDA is prepared to use Emergency Use Authorization, among other regulatory powers, to ensure a vaccine is delivered by year-end.

Separately, Vice President Mike Pence announced five new members of the Coronavirus Task Force: NIH Director Francis Collins; Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; Thomas Engels, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration; Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; and Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.

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