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Trump’s Operation Warp Speed adviser says all Americans could be immunized by June

Most Americans may have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by early this spring, one which could potentially immunize them by June, according to Operation Warp Speed’s chief adviser, Dr. Moncef Slaoui.



a hand holding a blue toothbrush: A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled "Vaccine COVID-19" in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.


© Dado Ruvic/Reuters
A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled “Vaccine COVID-19” in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.

“It’s not a certainty, but the plan — and I feel pretty confident — should make it such that by June, everybody could have been immunized in the U.S.,” Slaoui told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff Wednesday morning.

President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is an effort created to accelerate a vaccine rollout without sacrificing safety. The program has pumped billions of dollars into numerous pharmaceutical companies in hopes of developing one or more safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The money is intended to help ramp up development, trials and manufacturing while removing financial risk from the companies, in case the vaccines don’t work out.

Despite the rapid pace of vaccine development, Slaoui said he has not received any improper pressure from the White House to expedite the process beyond what he considers safe.

“I’ve had absolutely no pressure, really, no pressure,” Slaoui said, adding that he would have quit if that were the case. “And I have [always] said, if I get undue pressure, I will say it and I will resign.”

Slaoui said the pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer are likely to be the first with vaccine candidates to apply for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, possibly as soon as November or December. If a vaccine is authorized before the end of the year, Slaoui said approximately 20 to 40 million doses of it will be stockpiled and ready for distribution for a limited population.

MORE: UK launching controversial vaccine trials where volunteers will be infected with the coronavirus

“Then we can start immunizing the highest risk people, front-line workers, the health care workers, before the end of the year,” Slaoui told ABC News. “Now, not every one in that population can be immunized in December, but the companies will continue to manufacture and produce vaccine doses — and in January, we plan to have about 60 to 80 million doses of those two vaccines.”

Slaoui said AstraZeneca’s clinical trial is due to resume in the U.S. “imminently.”

This comes as clinical trials for both AstraZeneca’s vaccine were put on regulatory hold by the FDA and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate were put on a voluntary pause to investigate why certain volunteers developed unexplained illnesses during the trial. AstraZeneca has already resumed its trials in Europe and elsewhere in the world.



a hand holding a toothbrush: A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled "Vaccine COVID-19" in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.


© Dado Ruvic/Reuters
A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled “Vaccine COVID-19” in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.

But halting the two late-stage clinical trials may have caused some vaccine skepticism, despite most scientists saying it’s a sign the process is working, and pointing out that many clinical trials are slowed to investigate potential

Trump’s vaccine adviser says all Americans could be immunized against COVID-19 by June

Moncef Slaoui is encouraging people to volunteer for vaccine trials.

Most Americans will likely have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by early this spring, one which could potentially immunize them by June, according to Operation Warp Speed’s chief adviser, Moncef Slaoui.

“The plan — and I feel pretty confident — should make it such that by June, everybody could have been immunized in the U.S.,” Slaoui told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff Wednesday morning.

Despite the rapid pace of vaccine development, Slaoui said he has not received any improper pressure from the White House to expedite the process beyond what he considers safe.

“I’ve had absolutely no pressure, really, no pressure,” Slaoui said, adding that he would have quit if that were the case. “And I have [always] said, if I get undue pressure, I will say it and I will resign.”

Slaoui believes Moderna and Pfizer will be the first pharmaceutical companies with vaccine candidates to receive emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, possibly as soon as December. By the time of their authorization, Slaoui said approximately 20 to 40 million doses of a vaccine will be stockpiled and ready for distribution.

Slaoui also gave an update on pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, claiming their clinical trials are due to resume in the U.S. “imminently.”

This comes as clinical trials for both AstraZeneca’s and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate were put on hold to investigate why certain volunteers developed unexplained illnesses during the trial. AstraZeneca has already resumed its trials in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

PHOTO: A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled "Vaccine COVID-19" in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.

A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled “Vaccine COVID-19” in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.

Halting the two late-stage clinical trials has caused some vaccine skepticism, and Slaoui worries vaccine development will become further entrenched in recent politics.

“I think, unfortunately, it’s the politics around it,” Slaoui said. “And I think if these same events were happening two years ago, far away from an election time, I’m sure the same scrutiny would happen, but it would have a different tone to it.”

In September, prior to halting these clinical trials, a Gallup Poll indicated that only

Sage adviser says Boris Johnson ‘not being cautious enough’

Prof John Edmunds: 'I think we are not being as cautious as I would like us to be.' (Parliamentlive.tv)
Prof John Edmunds: ‘I think we are not being as cautious as I would like us to be.’ (Parliamentlive.tv)

One of the government’s top coronavirus advisers has said Boris Johnson is not being cautious enough and warned his three-tier local lockdown strategy will not work.

Prof John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) argued Tier 3 lockdowns – the most severe under Johnson’s system – are unlikely to reduce the reproduction (R) rate below 1, meaning there will still be high community infection rates.

He argued a “circuit breaker” national lockdown, something which Sage recommended last month but Johnson resisted, would hold COVID-19 incidence at a “lower level” and reduce hospital admissions.

It comes a day after the government reported a surge in COVID deaths. There were 241 deaths announced on Tuesday, up from 80 on Monday. This was the highest daily number in four months.

Appearing before the House of Commons science and technology committee on Wednesday, Prof Edmunds said of Johnson’s strategy: “I think we are not being as cautious as I would like us to be. I think it’s pretty clear cases have been going up quite fast.

“What worries me a little bit is where the strategy leads to at the moment, the targeted tiered strategy. If you think it through, where that leads to is a high level of incidence everywhere.

“Let’s say Tier 3 works and keeps the reproduction number at about 1 – I don’t think anyone thinks this is going to reduce it to less than 1.

“That means that in Liverpool and Manchester and the north west [areas which are in Tier 3], it will keep the incidence at this high level which is putting hospitals under strain and causing significant numbers of deaths. We’re going to keep it at that high level now for the foreseeable future.”

Watch: How will England’s three-tier local lockdown system work?

R represents the average number of people each COVID-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

He said the Midlands and London could soon go into Tier 3, again only reducing R to 1.

“What that means by logical extension of this,” Prof Edmunds went on, “is that we all end up at a high level of incidence where hospitals are really under stretch and we have large numbers of deaths.

“That for me is the logical conclusion of this strategy that we’re following and I would not follow that strategy.”

He said a “very stringent” circuit breaker national lockdown could “half” COVID incidence, rather than “hold” it.

It comes after Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, warned an increase in deaths is “baked in” with the second wave of new infections.

Some 21,331 UK-wide cases were recorded on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of 18,231.

Prof Van-Tam warned at the Downing Street press conference on Tuesday: “The key point is that having

Twitter blocks post by top Trump pandemic adviser [Video]

Twitter on Sunday removed what it called a “misleading” tweet posted by a top coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump who questioned the effectiveness of masks to combat the pandemic.

Dr. Scott Atlas, a White House adviser who’s pushed back against the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other health experts, on Saturday tweeted, “Masks work? NO.”

Twitter said the post violated a policy on misleading information on COVID-19.

The White House had no immediate comment.

The CDC Director last month praised mask-wearing, and the University of Washington forecasts widespread mask use could save thousands of lives.

But the clash over coronavirus messaging comes as the Trump administration appears unwilling to press for stern mitigation efforts.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gotlieb characterized the U.S. response as essentially, weather the storm.

“And if you look at the White House strategy, they’ve come out against universal masking. They’ve come out against testing asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people. They say testing should be reserved just to the vulnerable. They want businesses and schools reopened, as we all do, and they’re against targeted mitigation like closing restaurants. So it begs the question, what is the strategy? And I think the strategy is just to endure the spread until we get to that vaccine.”

Meanwhile the pandemic is surging to alarming levels across the United States.

According to a Reuters analysis the U.S. reported nearly 70,000 new cases on Friday. Total U.S. cases surpassed 8 million last week.

And the worst may yet be ahead.

“We have two or three very hard months ahead of us. I think this is probably going to be the hardest phase of this pandemic. The good news is that we have a lot- a lot of medical treatments and better medical care so we’re going to do a better job of preserving life. The bad news is I think we’re going to end up infecting a lot more people.”

Despite data showing otherwise, Trump has said repeatedly in recent weeks that the country is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Trump again attributed the latest surge in coronavirus cases to more testing, but health experts cite increases in hospitalizations and the rates at which people are testing positive for the virus to show cases are indeed rising.

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UK Needs Three-Week Lockdown for COVID Reset: Government Adviser | World News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain needs to impose a three-week period of national lockdown restrictions immediately to stop cases of COVID-19 spiralling, government scientific adviser Jeremy Farrar said, adding that current regional measures would not be effective.

“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus,” he said.

“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiralling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives,” he said.

Farrar, who is director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the response needed to be immediate because putting it off would only worsen and lengthen the crisis.

He told Sky News that the best time to have locked down was two to three weeks ago, but it wasn’t too late now.

Senior minister Michael Gove, however, said a two- or three- week national lockdown – named a “circuit breaker” by some – was not being considered.

“The spread and the nature of the disease does not merit that approach at the moment,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

Gove did concede that there were problems with the level of compliance with the rules already in place for those who tested positive for COVID-19.

He said the level of government support available for those who were required to self-isolate was kept under constant review.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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UK needs three-week lockdown for COVID reset: adviser

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain needs to impose a three-week period of national lockdown restrictions immediately to stop cases of COVID-19 spiralling, government scientific adviser Jeremy Farrar said, adding that current regional measures would not be effective.

“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus,” he said.

“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiralling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives,” he said.

Farrar, who is director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the response needed to be immediate because putting it off would only worsen and lengthen the crisis.

He told Sky News that the best time to have locked down was two to three weeks ago, but it wasn’t too late now.

Senior minister Michael Gove, however, said a two- or three- week national lockdown – named a “circuit breaker” by some – was not being considered.

“The spread and the nature of the disease does not merit that approach at the moment,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

Gove did concede that there were problems with the level of compliance with the rules already in place for those who tested positive for COVID-19.

He said the level of government support available for those who were required to self-isolate was kept under constant review.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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