Saturday November 21, 2020

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 21, 2020

Why Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is credited with helping race for COVID-19 vaccine

Operation Warp Speed, a Trump administration initiative to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines as fast as possible, should be lauded as a successful endeavour in what has otherwise been a poor effort to deal with the coronavirus, experts say.

“No doubt, Operation Warp Speed is a huge success,” said Tinglong Dai, associate professor of Operations Management and Business Analytics at Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in Baltimore.

“You can like or hate the Trump administration, but no doubt, it’s a huge success — unprecedented success.”

Jesse Goodman, the former chief scientist of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, agreed that the U.S. government deserves credit for the high priority placed on Operation Warp Speed.

“This is a bright spot in the pandemic response. I mean, the rest of it has been dismal,” said Goodman, who is also director of Georgetown University’s Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also lauded Operation Warp Speed for being a “success — certainly in the arena of vaccines, it’s been a success” in his remarks at a recent virtual summit organized by the medical news site Stat.

Launched in May, Operation Warp Speed (OWS) is a government initiated private/public $10 billion US program to help provide support to companies in the development, manufacturing and distribution of 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with the aim of having initial doses ready by January 2021.

Allison Winnike, president of the Texas-based Immunization Partnership, an organization providing advocacy and information about immunization initiatives, said that Moderna benefited tremendously from Operation Warp Speed, in part, by receiving close to $1 billion to support its vaccine development and clinical trials.

As for the role the funding played in the development of Pfizer’s vaccine, that’s a bit fuzzier. Last week, when the company announced it had developed a vaccine that was more than 90 per cent effective, U.S. President Donald Trump said that Pfizer was suggesting “it wasn’t part of Warp Speed, but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation.” (CBC News)

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