A massive project aims to find and manufacture a vaccine for the novel coronavirus before the end of 2020, according to multiple reports.
Codenamed “Operation Warp Speed,” the planned effort was first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg News.
According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the Trump administration project has the goal of producing enough effective vaccines to inoculate much of the country.
The deadline puts those tasked with finding the vaccine in a major time crunch. With only eight months left before 2021, the timetable is only a fraction of what researches and scientists working on previous vaccines have faced.
The ambitious project will have a wealth of resources at its disposal.
Operation Warp Speed will draw on military components, U.S. government agencies and private pharmaceutical companies to hit the fast-approaching deadline.
According to a Reuters report on the plan, as many as 15 drug companies could be involved in the hunt for a vaccine.
While it seems like a recipe for success, there are doubts that the deadline is realistic.
Instead of the eight months given to Operation Warp Speed, some experts predict it could take up to 18 months for a successful and safe vaccine to enter production.
If researchers behind the effort encounter more speedbumps than victories, the 18 months could easily stretch to years.
Thankfully, it looks like those involved in the project are not starting with a blank slate.
An American vaccine entered human trials in March, but researchers gave a 12- to 18-month window until it hits the market. If the human trials are a failure, the timetable is only bound to grow longer.
Another hopeful vaccine comes in the form of a patch applied to the skin, a low-impact procedure that would undoubtedly speed up inoculation efforts.
The United States isn’t in this effort alone, either.
One promising vaccine from the United Kingdom’s Oxford University shows the potential to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The Oxford vaccine could be ready within months if everything goes according to plan.
It’s unclear if Operation Warp Speed will draw on foreign research.
While a vaccine by January 2021 would allow us to open up our communities and economies without worry, it would come too late to impact the 2020 election. Increasingly becoming a hot topic on both the left and the right, COVID-19’s impact on the process will be unprecedented.
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