The US government will invest in all the top COVID-19 vaccine candidates, Donald Trump told reporters.
He also said that the list had been narrowed to 14 promising possibilities, with a plan to reduce the number further. Trump stated that his administration will mobilise its forces to get a vaccine distributed once one is in place.
"Today, I want to update you on the next stage of this momentous medical initiative, it's called Operation Warp Speed. A massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavour unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project", Trump announced during a press conference.
Trump added that the operation's chief adviser is Moncef Slaoui, who previously served as the chairman of the GSK Vaccine Division in the private sector.
In addition, Trump said US Army Gen. Gustave Perna will be the project’s chief operating officer.
US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said January 2021 is the target date for having a vaccine available to the public, but Slaoui emphasised that he has seen data from early clinical trials that gives him confidence a vaccine will be available by the end of 2020.
Azar also announced that three top HHS scientists will join the Operation Warp Speed initiative.
In the meantime, several US states are reopening, although many fear that doing so prematurely could cause COVID-19 to spike. The United States has more than 1.42 million coronavirus cases and nearly 86,000 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The statement comes after US media reported that at least half of Americans do not wish to be vaccinated in light of potential health risks as evidenced by past vaccines and perceived undemocratic measures accompanying it, such as digital identification and tracking.