Moroccan Moncef Slaoui Tasked by President Trump To Develop Vaccine
Professor Slaoui, who left the drug manufacturer in 2017, will help coordinate the development of vaccines and anti-Covid-19 treatments in a shared role between the departments of health, social services and defense.
White House officials added that General Gustave Perna had also been selected to help oversee "Operation Warp Speed".
Slaoui will act as a senior advisor and General Perna will serve as the chief operating officer, overseeing logistics.
The appointments come two weeks after Trump announced the operation to quickly speed up production and organize plans to distribute a vaccine. Experts say that such vaccine is still months or years away.
Professor Slaoui led the global activity of GSK vaccines from 2015 to 2017. Previously, he served as a long-time president of global research and development. He helped develop vaccines to prevent childhood rotavirus gastroenteritis, cervical cancer and shingles.
He also has links with several pharmaceutical companies involved in the Covid-19 response, such as GlaxoSmithKline which is working on the development of a vaccine with Sanofi. He also sits on the board of directors of Moderna, one of the first companies to conduct clinical trials on a vaccine.
The US President described Dr Slaoui as "one of the most respected men in the world in the production and formulation of vaccines", noting that the objective of Operation Warp Speed was "to complete the development and then manufacture and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible".
Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Slaoui said he was "very honored and privileged" to lead this "extraordinary undertaking" in the service of the whole world.