Donald Trump compares coronavirus vaccine to Manhattan project

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Donald Trump announced Operation Warp Speed is hoping to find a proven coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. The US President noted the medical initiative is unlike anything America has seen since the Manhattan Project which was a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons.

President Trump told reporters: “Today I want to update you on this momentous medical initiative.

“It’s called Operation Warp Speed that means big and it means fast.

“A massive scientific, logistical endeavour, unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.

“It’s objective is to finish developing and then to manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as fast as possible.

“Again, we would love to see if we can do it prior to the end of the year.”

Trump said the government would invest in all the top coronavirus vaccine candidates and said a list had been narrowed to 14 promising possibilities with a plan to narrow further.

Former GlaxoSmithKline executive Moncef Slaoui, who Trump has tapped to help spearhead the vaccine effort, expressed optimism that progress would be made before the end of the year.

He said: “I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine.

“These data made me feel even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of a vaccine by the end of 2020.”

Slaoui did not mention which vaccine, but one developed by Moderna Therapeutics with help from the National Institutes of Health recently won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance to the next phase of clinical trials.

Experts have warned that it would likely take 12-18 months or more to get a vaccine ready for the public, but the president has sought to speed up that time frame while also playing down the need for a vaccine as he encourages US states to reopen their economies.

At his Rose Garden event the president made clear his view that the country could move on from the epidemic without one.

President Trump said: “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back.”

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The president, who took criticism for not coordinating with European countries over travel restrictions in the early stages of the pandemic, said the world was cooperating to develop a vaccine.

Trump added: “We’ve got countries that are allies – we have some countries, frankly, that are not allies – where we’re working very closely together.

“We have no ego. Whoever gets it, we think it’s great. We’re going to work with them.

“They’re going to work with us. Likewise, if we get it, we’re going to be working with them.”

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