Scientific Director of Operation Warp Speed, Moroccan Moncef Slaoui, said Friday that the United States will be able to produce “some hundreds of millions” of doses of a vaccine against Covid-19 by the end of 2020.
“I very recently reviewed preliminary data from a clinical trial of a vaccine for the coronavirus. These data further strengthened my confidence that we will be able to produce some hundreds of millions of doses by the end of 2020,” said Dr Slaoui, who was 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 vaccine against the coronavirus.
“I believe that the objectives of Operation Warp Speed are both very believable and very difficult,” he said. “However, I am very confident that our intergovernmental team, with the support of the military and our private sector partners, will be able to achieve these goals,” he told.
“We will also focus on accelerating the development of drugs for those who have unfortunately already been infected with the virus while optimizing diagnostic tests,” added the renowned Moroccan immunologist.
US President Donald Trump officially appointed Moroccan Moncef Slaoui to the White House this Friday as Scientific Director of Operation Warp Speed, an unprecedented effort to “very quickly” prepare a vaccine for Covid-19.
“We are proud to announce (…) that the scientific chief of Operation Warp Speed will be Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a world renowned immunologist who helped create fourteen new vaccines (…) in ten years during his time in the sector private,” announced President Trump at the Rose Garden.
The 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 development and then manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible.”
President Trump also appointed General Gustave Perna to help oversee Operation Warp Speed. Born in Agadir in 1959, Dr Slaoui who was enjoying a golden retirement in Pennsylvania after a rich career of more than 30 years with the pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), had done post-doctoral studies at the prestigious Harvard Medical School and 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 many vaccines that are used worldwide. In 2016, he was recognized as one of the “50 Greatest Global 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 in Belgium is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and presentations and is a member of the board of directors of several international medical foundations.