The Moroccan expert denied he was part of the US COVID-19 task force in March.
Rabat – Moroccan expert in immunology and vaccinology Moncef Slaoui will lead Trump’s team tasked with developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
The expert will guide a group of medical professionals to formulate a vaccine to battle the pandemic, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the world, according to Politico.
Slaoui will help tackle the task alongside experts from the Health and Human Services and Defense Departments.
While President Donald Trump is seeking a quick solution to the pandemic, health officials continue to express doubts that scientists working to develop a vaccine could achieve their goal this year.
The pandemic has killed approximately 83,953 people in the US as of May 13. The country is now the world’s hardest-hit, with over 1.41 million confirmed cases to date.
The former chairman of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division and Perna, Moncef Slaoui will be in charge of overseeing “Operation Warp Speed,” sources told Bloomberg Law today.
Prior to today’s announcement, Slaoui had denied his involvement with the US COVID-19 task force.
A member of the board of directors of American biotechnology firm Moderna, Moncef Slaoui said in March that he is part of the company’s research and development committee.
He said the private committee had received support from federal organizations to help fund the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Outlook on the pandemic’s development
In an interview with Moroccan television channel 2M on April 13, Slaoui forecast that the COVID-19 pandemic will heavily scar the global population.
“I believe that by 2021 our reality will not be completely back to normal but it will be improved,” he argued.
The health expert said if the virus continues to spread, there will be no way to control it other than to create a vaccine and administer it on a massive scale.
“We will get to [vaccines] eventually, but we’re not there yet. If we want to lift the lockdowns, we need to fully respect them first,” he explained.
He said countries can phase out lockdowns when there is a proven COVID-19 treatment.
Slaoui acknowledged that there are now hundreds of clinical studies underway in many countries.
He expressed optimism that due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, clinical studies will achieve preliminary results quickly. “I believe that by the end of May or by early June, we will know if some of these drugs work.”