The scientific director of Operation Warp Speed, Morocco’s Moncef Slaoui, said Friday that the United States will be able to produce “a few hundred million” doses of a vaccine against COVID-19 by the end of 2020.
“I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine and these data have made me even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred millions,doses of vaccine by the end of 2020,” said Dr Slaoui, speaking from the White House gardens following the official announcement of his appointment by US President Donald Trump to lead the effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
“I believe the objectives of Operation Warp Speed are both very credible and very difficult,” he said. “However, I am very confident that our inter-governmental team, with the support of the military and our private sector partners, will be able to achieve those objectives,” he said.
“We will also focus on accelerating the development of drugs for those who have unfortunately already been contaminated by the virus while optimizing diagnostic tests,” added the renowned Moroccan immunologist.
US President Donald Trump officially appointed, Friday at the White House, Morocco’s Moncef Slaoui as scientific director of Operation Warp Speed, a groundbreaking effort to prepare a vaccine for Covid-19 “very quickly”.
“We are proud to announce (…) that the Chief Scientific Officer of Operation Warp Speed will be Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a world-renowned immunologist who has helped create fourteen new vaccines (…) in ten years during his tenure in the private sector,” President Trump announced at the Rose Garden.
The US President described Dr Slaoui as “one of the most respected men in the world in the production and formulation of vaccines”, noting that the objective of Operation Warp Speed was “to complete the development and then manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible”.
President Trump also appointed general Gustave Perna to help oversee the Warp Speed operation.
Born in Agadir in 1959, Dr. Slaoui, who was enjoying a golden retirement in Pennsylvania at the end of a rich career spanning more than 30 years with the pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), had completed post-doctoral studies at the prestigious Harvard Medical School and the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
In 1988, Moncef Slaoui joined GSK where he began a distinguished career in vaccine research and development (R&D) and led the development of numerous vaccines that are used worldwide. In 2016, he was recognized as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine for his work on under-researched diseases that are common in the developing world.
This former professor of immunology at the University of Mons, Belgium, is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and presentations and is a member of the board of several international medical foundations.