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Politics, Policy & Law

Warp Speed co-leader Slaoui signs letter supporting Fauci

Nov 4, 2020 | 10:21 PM GMT

Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, has signed a public letter expressing support for Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Slaoui confirmed to BioCentury that he has signed the letter, joining about 200 biopharmaceutical executives and life sciences leaders who have endorsed the call to support “Fauci and the institutions and organizations that are working tirelessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.” Individuals who were invited to sign the letter were informed that the expanded list of signatures would be posted online soon. 

The Operation Warp Speed co-leader’s endorsement of Fauci comes at a time when President Donald Trump has publicly suggested that he is considering firing Fauci. Trump does not have the authority to directly fire Fauci, but he could order NIH Director Francis Collins to do so.

Collins, however, has publicly spoken in support of Fauci in recent weeks, and it is likely that Collins would quit rather than carry out instructions to fire Fauci.

The letter hails Fauci as a “giant of epidemiology, one of the world’s most respected scientists in infectious diseases, and an American hero who has served multiple administrations—both Republican and Democratic—for decades.” It notes political attacks on and threats to Fauci and states that such actions put “our collective efforts, and the safety of the American public, at risk.”

The letter, originated by Jeremy Levin, CEO of Ovid Therapeutics and chairman of BIO, was first posted on Oct. 22, along with signatures from Ron Cohen, president and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:ACOR); Cedric Francois, president and CEO of Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:APLS); John Crowley, chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:FOLD); Paul Hastings, president and CEO of Nkarta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:NKTX); Rachel King, CEO of GlycoMimetics Inc. (NASDAQ:GLYC); Ted W. Love, president and CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:GBT); John Maraganore, CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY); and Michelle McMurry-Heath, President and CEO of BIO.

It “represents solely the individual and personal views of the authors and signatories, and not those of their company,” according to a disclaimer.

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