United States President Donald Trump has said that US will reopen, “vaccine or no vaccine”. He has also announced an objective to deliver a coronavirus vaccine by year-end. He likened the vaccine project, dubbed “Operation Warp Speed”, to the World War Two effort to produce the world’s first nuclear weapons. However, he has made it clear to the Americans that they must begin their normal lives even without a vaccine.
Many experts have doubted that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed within a year. Trump was speaking at a White House Rose Garden news conference on Friday. He said that the project, Operation Warp Speed, would begin with studies on 14 promising vaccine candidates for accelerated research and approval.
“That means big and it means fast,” he said of Operation Warp Speed. “A massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavour unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.” To lead the operation, the President has named an Army general and a former healthcare executive.
Gen Gustave Perna, who oversees distribution for the US Army, is to serve as chief operating officer, while Moncef Slaoui, who previously led the vaccines division at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, will lead the mission. Mr. Slaoui spoke after Trump. He said that he is confident that a “few hundred million doses of vaccine” will be delivered by the end of 2020. In an earlier interview in the New York Times, he acknowledged that the timeline is ambitious, but said he “would not have committed unless I thought it was achievable”.
Many experts have said that the only thing to give confidence to Americans in fully reopening the economy in the absence of widespread testing is a vaccine. “I don’t want people to think this is all dependent on a vaccine,” Trump said. “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back. And we’re starting the process.”