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Trump to announce leaders of the US project to develop a coronavirus vaccine

Published on 14/05/20 at 11:40am
Photo by Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump is set to announce that Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division, and Gustave Perna, a four star US General, will lead a project to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Known as ‘Operation Warp Speed’, Slaoui and Perna will work towards developing 300 million vaccines for the US. The project will utilise private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military to try and develop a vaccine within the next 8 months, according to people familiar with the details who spoke to the press on the condition of anonymity.

The US is hoping to quicken the development of several different vaccine candidates and start production before clinical tests are complete. There has been recent controversy between the US and France, as French company Sanofi has said its first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine would be sent to the US, because the American government is funding the vaccine.

During his time at GSK, Slaou oversaw vaccine pipelines that produced Rotarix, used to prevent diarrhea in infants, and Cervarix, used to protect against a viral infection that can lead to cervical cancer. He left the company in 2017 and joined the board of Moderna.

Perna has served as the Commander of the US Army Materiel Command, which manages the service’s supply chain across the world, since 2016. He was previously the Army’s deputy Chief of Staff.

Conor Kavanagh

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