UPDATED 1:35 PM PT — Thursday, April 30, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he believes it could be possible to produce “hundreds of millions” of vaccine doses by the beginning of next year. On Thursday, Fauci was asked about his role in ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ which seeks to speed up the timeline to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
He noted the search for a vaccine is still early in the first phase. According to the doctor, the next phase will quickly work to find out whether a vaccine works and if it’s safe to use.
“If so, we’re going to start ramping up production with the companies involved, and you do that at risk,” explained Fauci. “In other words, you don’t wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing, you at risk, proactively start making it, assuming it’s going to work.”
He added researchers are hoping to find a solution quickly, but want to make sure it’s safe and effective. The coronavirus task force member stated millions of doses may be available by January “if things fall in the right place.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense has moved to increase the production of swabs used in virus testing. On Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed medical supply company Puritan Medical Products will be receiving $75 million to ramp up production of the swabs.
According to spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, the aim of the deal will be to increase production by 20 million swabs beginning in May. This followed on the heels of the president’s recent decision to invoke the Defense Production Act.
“As you know, we’re calling in the Defense Production Act,” stated President Trump. “We’ll be getting swabs very easily.”
Many governors have listed testing as a main criteria for reopening their economies. States have been making strides, but they will reportedly need an unprecedented amount of equipment to continue those efforts.