U.S. Government’s Operation Warp Speed Awards $1.6B To Novavax To Create Coronavirus Vaccine; Debate Arises Over Initiative’s Transparency, Vaccine Trials

Financial Times: Novavax signs $1.6bn deal for virus vaccine funding from U.S.
“Novavax has signed a deal worth up to $1.6bn with the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, securing more federal funds than any other company behind a potential Covid-19 inoculation…” (Kuchler, 7/7).

New York Times: Researchers Debate Infecting People on Purpose to Test Coronavirus Vaccines
“One way to quickly see if a coronavirus vaccine works would be to immunize healthy people and then deliberately expose them to the virus, some researchers are suggesting. Proponents say this strategy, called a human challenge trial, could save time because rather than conducting tests the usual way — by waiting for vaccinated people to encounter the virus naturally — researchers could just infect them. … For both ethical and practical reasons, the idea of challenge trials for a coronavirus vaccine has provoked fierce debate…” (Grady, 7/6).

Science: Operation Warp Speed’s opaque choices of COVID-19 vaccines draw Senate scrutiny
“The leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s well-funded project to develop COVID-19 vaccines at record speed, have said they are running a transparent project. They have bristled at critics who say they make major decisions behind closed doors. But at a Senate subcommittee hearing [July 2] that focused on Warp Speed, scientists at the front of the effort, after repeated questioning, gave limited answers about the vaccine candidates they have chosen as frontrunners in the race and their selection criteria…” (Cohen, 7/2).

Additional coverage of Operation Warp Speed’s award to Novavax is available from New York Times, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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