White House Gonna Cure That Virus With Another Task Force, *For Serious This Time *

National Politics

This time they really mean it, you guys. The White House brain trust that promised you four million COVID-19 tests by the end of March and a hydroxychloroquine miracle cure in every pot are for real this time going to have a syringe full of vaccine ready to jam into your arm by January. And if not ... you know, whatever, the election will already be over by then, so Trump DGAF.

Bloomberg reports, "The Trump administration is quietly organizing a Manhattan Project-style effort to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal to have 100 million doses ready by year's end, according to two people familiar with the matter." Assuming the accuracy of this reporting, the Trump administration cannot possibly have told Trump himself, since Commander Loudmouth has loudly patted himself on the back at those stupid briefings for any number of initiatives that never panned out.

But, okay Bloomberg, tell us about this amazing moonshot the greatest minds in Trumpland have been toiling away at on the DL.

Called "Operation Warp Speed," the program will pull together private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military to try to cut the development time for a vaccine by as much as eight months, one of the people said.

As part of the arrangement, taxpayers will shoulder much of the financial risk that vaccine candidates may fail, instead of drug companies.

You can tell this is VRS SRS BZNISS because they named it Operation Warp Speed. Not like those dorks in England who seem to be making progress with their boring old "Oxford Vaccine." Like anyone's going to buy that, right?


And, hey, not for nothing, but if "taxpayers will shoulder much of the financial risk" to produce this miracle drug, exactly who will be reaping the profit? On this burning question, Bloomberg's sources were silent. But they did make sure to give Donald Trump the credit, as mandated by law.

Last month, Trump directed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to speed development of a vaccine, and administration officials have been meeting on the effort for three to four weeks, one of the people said. A meeting on the project was scheduled at the White House on Wednesday.

Great job bossing around Alex Azar, Mister President! Well done.

Bloomberg's sources were also a little hazy on the science part of this whole endeavor: "Vaccine development is typically slow and high risk. The project's goal is to cut out the slow part, the people said." (Whodathunkit!) But it appears to strongly resemble the effort by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate research into several different possible formulations, ramping up production of the most likely candidates during the testing phase so that the product will be ready for market as soon as it is proven effective.

Under the effort, the Defense Department would make its animal research resources available for pre-clinical work on vaccines.

The group is also discussing the use of what's known as a master protocol to test the vaccines. Instead of multiple clinical trials run by each drugmaker, competing for patients and resources, the government would organize one large trial to test several vaccines at once and advance the most promising ones.

Again, this appears to nationalize the production risk, without specifying exactly who will profit off the final product. And it's unclear whether this is an effort coordinated with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which, Bloomberg notes, "has already handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to drugmakers including Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson" for vaccine development. Which is perhaps slightly more effective than a meeting at the White House to draft a business plan for their eventual, glorious success on the backs of Deep State scientists who've had to fight budget cuts for a generation. These are, after all, the same people who just this week cut the allocation for research into bat-to-human viral transmission because of a wingnut conspiracy theory.

But we certainly wish them well. If Jared Kushner actually succeeds by waving his magical MBA wand over the pharmaceutical production process and shouting Expectio Deregulatam! Public Private Partnership! Hocus Pocus Synergy! then we will be the first to congratulate him.

But until then, he can shove that stupid wand up his scrawny ass. We've had just about enough of Prince Nepotism going on television in the middle of a pandemic to brag about the peerless victory of 60,000 dead Americans. Pics, or it didn't happen, bro.

[Bloomberg]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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