The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed has been investing resources and time into getting the coronavirus vaccine ready as fast as possible. The President said that, “In terms of transportation and logistics, we have over 2 million ready to go — if it checks out for safety,” when speaking of mentioned vaccines.
As part of Operation Warp Speed, five drugmakers have reportedly been selected to be the most viable to have their version of the vaccine ready first, according to the New York Times. These five companies are: AstraZeneca (partnering with Oxford University), Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Merck, and Pfizer (partnering with BioNTech). Moderna and Pfizer have proven themselves to be frontrunners in the race to make a vaccine early on. These five companies are receiving financial and logistical support from the government. $2.2 billion dollars have gone to the AstraZeneca team, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna.
POLITICO questioned which of the five companies produced the 2 million doses, in which neither the White House or the Department of Health and Human Services responded.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, American leader in the battle against COVID-19, says that hopefully doses will be ready in the hundreds of millions by early 2021. He has been very reluctant to share good news on this fight as it would incite false hopes or beliefs. Fauci also reports that vaccine production takes a very long time. Many coronaviruses have been observed to survive vaccines in the long run. If a vaccine is produced by early 2021, many fear that it won’t be effective or safe.
Two of the frontrunning vaccines, one from Moderna and the other from the AstraZeneca pair, are in their Phase 2 trials. This means that the effectiveness of these vaccines are being tested on humans. With Phase 3 testing slated for July, they seem to be the frontrunning corporations. Johnson & Johnson has Phase 1 testing planned for September, but it seems like they’re looking to pick up their pace. None of the five corporations are interested in announcing new plans before the White House does.
Phase 3 trials consist of 30,000 volunteers. If all five are in this phase at the same time then 150,000 people would be getting observed at once. It is likely most of these people would be Americans as all corportations but AstraZeneca are based in America.
All age groups would be in the tests, including those who are more prone to death from the virus.
Operation Warp Speed is picking up. As of right now, there are 1.94 million confirmed cases and 111K deaths in the United States alone.