US accelerates development of Covid-19 vaccine

President Donald Trump at the White House on April 30. Photo: Reuters.
President Donald Trump at the White House on April 30. Photo: Reuters.

President Trump announced that the United States would accelerate the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, targeting at least 100 million doses within 8 months.

Speaking to reporters at the White House meeting, Trump said he was in charge of the entire project to develop the vaccine as quickly as possible.

“What humans do, we will do,” he said, “I hope we promote the vaccine at an unprecedented speed.”

The project, “Operation Warp Speed”, is based on the cooperation of private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military, to cut down the time to develop nCoV vaccine. The goal is to have 100 million doses by the end of this year. No vaccine has been developed at such a rate.

If this project fails, the financial risks are borne by taxpayers instead of pharmaceutical companies. Developing a vaccine is often time-consuming and risky.

The goal of the Trump project is to cut back on slow steps, use government resources to quickly test the most potential vaccine in animals, then test it widely in humans. The Department of Defense will provide animal research resources for pre-clinical vaccine testing.

Last month, Trump directed Alex Azar, Minister of Health and Human Services, to speed up vaccine development. Government officials met for 4 weeks. Michael Caputo, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the president did not accept the standard vaccine development timeline and encouraged the process breakthrough.

The most potential vaccines will be put into wider testing, while mass production will increase. Vaccine testing procedures are also discussed. Instead of many manufacturers doing many clinical trials, competing patients and resources, the government will organize a large experiment, test multiple vaccines at the same time and focus on producing the most potential one. .

The Trump administration is not alone in trying to quickly develop the vaccine. Oxford University in London is also a good candidate in this race. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health injected six macaque macaques with Oxford and then exposed them to nCoV. All six monkeys were healthier after four weeks.

Researchers are currently testing their vaccine in 1,000 patients, with plans to expand clinical trials in May to about 5,000 more.

The Oxford team said it had expected several million doses of vaccine to be produced and approved by regulators in early September 2020.

Vaccine is the most effective tool against viral diseases, helps keep people from getting sick, is a shortcut to improve immunity. Scientists use live, weakened or dead viruses, or parts of germs to make a vaccine and then “trick” the body into building the immune system without getting sick.

Earlier, regulators and epidemiologists had always claimed it took 12 to 18 months or more for clinical trials to ensure the nCoV vaccine was safe and effective.

The United States is the largest epidemic region in the world, recording more than 1,067,000 cases, of which 62,870 died. Within 24 hours, the number of infections increased by more than 29,700 and the number of deaths increased by 2,024.

As of this morning, the world has 210 countries and territories recorded nCoV infections with more than 3.2 million people infected and nearly 233,000 deaths.