Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser for the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine program, can remain a government contractor, thus shielding him from disclosure rules.
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Operation Warp Speed has moved along at a rapid clip. But some people involved in the...Operation Warp Speed has moved along at a rapid clip. But some people involved in the process fear pressure to deliver an October surprise for President Trump.
Trump's coronavirus vaccine czar just pulled out of a marquee biotech conference. It would have been his first public appearance since taking the 'Operation Warp Speed' job.
The leader of the US government's effort to accelerate progress on coronavirus vaccines just pulled out...The leader of the US government's effort to accelerate progress on coronavirus vaccines just pulled out of a rare scheduled appearance. Moncef Slaoui, the scientific head of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed program, was set to speak Tuesday afternoon at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization's annual conference. Slaoui has not yet had an opportunity to brief Congress, Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary of public affairs, told Business Insider, in explaining the cancellation. Since first speaking at the White House on May 15, Slaoui has been silent, and little information is available on Warp Speed. The venture capitalist has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers and patient advocacy groups for his ties to the drug industry. He sat on the board of Moderna, a leading developer of a coronavirus vaccine candidate, before being appointed. Slaoui was heavily promoted by the conference's organizers, including as recently as Sunday in email blasts sent to attendees. For more stories like this, sign up here for our healthcare newsletter Dispensed. The Trump administration's coronavirus vaccine czar has pulled out of what would have been his first major public appearance since taking the role, Business Insider has learned. Moncef Slaoui was formally announced as the scientific leader of Operation Warp Speed on May 15. At a Rose Garden press conference, Slaoui generally outlined the operation's plans to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine. The program is aiming to have hundreds of millions of doses available by January 2021. In the weeks since that initial appearance, Slaoui and Operation Warp Speed have gone quiet, raising questions about the initiative. Slaoui was scheduled to appear Tuesday on a panel about coronavirus vaccines at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization's annual conference. Business Insider noticed that Slaoui's name was removed Monday from the coronavirus vaccine panel. Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary of public afffairs, told Business Insider that Slaoui withdrew because he hadn't yet briefed Congress. Read more: Here's how 13 top drugmakers are sprinting to develop a coronavirus vaccine or treatment that can halt this pandemic A representative for BIO didn't immediately return a request for comment. The cancellation came at the last minute. As recently as Sunday, conference organizers were promoting Tuesday's appearance by Slaoui, which promised to shed more light on Operation Warp Speed. The New York Times reported on June 3 that the Trump administration is prioritizing five vaccine programs, but HHS hasn't confirmed the reporting. Read more: Here are the 5 coronavirus vaccine programs that the Trump administration is reportedly prioritizing It remains unclear when the public will gain clarity on how the program works, or when Slaoui will answer questions about his work. Slaoui has also faced criticism from patient advocacy groups and some Democratic lawmakers about his financial ties to the drug industry. Prior to being appointed to Operation Warp Speed, Slaoui was a director of Moderna, a biotech at the leading front in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The former pharma executive and venture capitalist will divest his stock in Moderna, the company told Business Insider on May 18. Read more: The race for coronavirus treatments and vaccines is heating up. Here are the 12 most important events to watch for in June, from fresh vaccine data to new antibody drug trials.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
Operation Warp Speed aims to produce 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end...Operation Warp Speed aims to produce 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. If scientists succeed, it would be a first.