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Trump Launches 'Massive' Vaccine Project

Truck drivers' horns interrupt Rose Garden speakers
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2020 5:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Describing "a massive scientific industrial and logistical endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project," President Trump promised Friday that a new project will deliver a coronavirus vaccine quickly. Trump detailed Operation Warp Speed, a partnership with the private sector, in the Rose Garden and introduced its leaders, the Hill reports. "When I say quickly, we're looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before," the president said. In answering a question later, however, Trump said, "We hope to be able to do something by the end of the year or shortly thereafter." Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said developing a vaccine almost surely will take longer. Trump said the administration is looking at 14 potential vaccines under development now.

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Moncef Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical vaccines executive, will be chief scientist for the project. Army Gen. Gustave Perna will be chief operating officer. Both acknowledged the difficulty of their assignment, but Slaoui said he expects the project to deliver "a few hundred million doses of the vaccine" this year. Perna called it "herculean task." Honking by truck drivers lining Constitution Avenue interrupted the speakers, which Trump said was a display of support, per the Guardian. "They're protesting in favor of President Trump," he said. That's not what the truckers said. They've been there all month to protest low shipping rates. The truckers also want support in the stimulus legislation and say they lack access to personal protective equipment and health care. "This is our distress call to our commander in chief to address the problems we are facing," said one driver when he arrived this month, per the Washington Post. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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