Operation Warp Speed to start making Covid-19 vaccine by end of summer, says US official

A model of SARS-CoV-2 is seen ahead of a US Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the 'Operation Warp Speed' vaccine plan on Capitol Hill in Washington July 2, 2020. — Reuters pic
A model of SARS-CoV-2 is seen ahead of a US Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the 'Operation Warp Speed' vaccine plan on Capitol Hill in Washington July 2, 2020. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, July 14 — Drugmakers partnered with the US government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for Covid-19 by the end of the summer, a senior administration official said yesterday.

“If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer,” the official said.

He added that the administration is already working with companies to equip and outfit manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials.

The Trump administration has helped finance the development of four Covid-19 vaccines so far though its Operation Warp Speed Programme.

So far, the US government has given grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to over US$1 billion (RM 1.26 billion) to companies including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.

It has also signed a US$450 million contract with last month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus.

The “slate is not closed” for additional funding agreements and the administration plans to announce more in the future, the senior administration official said. — Reuters

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