Trump appoints Moroccan expert to lead Covid-19 vaccine development team

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CAPE TOWN – US President Donald Trump has appointed Moroccan expert Moncef Slaoui to head up the administration’s Covid-19 vaccine development team, according to White House officials and confirmed in a statement by the Moroccan government on Thursday.

According to Morocco World News, Slaoui is the former head of the vaccine division at multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a position he held between 2015 and 2017 before leaving the company that same year. He holds a PhD in molecular biology and immunology and served as a professor of immunology at the University of Mons, Belgium.

The North Africa Post has reported that the US government plans to produce 300 million vaccine doses for the coronavirus pandemic by the end of 2020.

Slaoui will act as a senior adviser and will help co-ordinate the development of vaccines and anti-Covid-19 treatments in a shared role between the departments of health, social services and defence, the statement said.

According to the Moroccan Press Agency, Slaoui’s  appointment comes two weeks after Trump announced the operation to develop, speed up production and organise plans to distribute a vaccine, despite experts saying a vaccine is still months away.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the availability of a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 is well recognised as an additional tool to contribute to the control of the pandemic.

The global health authority has said it is vital that they evaluate as many vaccines as possible as they cannot predict how many will turn out to be viable.

There are just over 4.5 million people infected with Covid-19 worldwide, according to tracker Worldometer, and cases are expected to rise, especially in Africa, where the spread of the disease has been relatively slow.

In the US there are 1.4 million people infected with the coronavirus, with more than 85,000 deaths to date.

African News Agency 

By Chad Anthony Williams

Credit: www.iol.co.za

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