President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has appointed Dr. David Kessler selected to lead Operation Warp Speed, the program to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.
Dr. Kessler, a pediatrician and attorney who headed the Food and Drug Administration during the presidencies of George Bush and Bill Clinton, was a key advisor to Mr. Biden on Covid-19 policy and is co-chair of the Covid transition team . 19 Task Force.
He will be Dr. Replace Moncef Slaoui, a researcher and former CEO of a pharmaceutical company who is becoming an advisor to Operation Warp Speed. Dr. Kessler will share primary responsibility for the initiative with General Gustave F. Perna, who will continue to serve as chief operating officer, according to a Biden interim spokesperson. Dr. Kessler’s responsibilities include manufacturing, distributing, and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and therapeutics.
“DR. Kessler became a trusted advisor to the Biden campaign and President-elect Biden at the start of the pandemic and has informed Biden probably 50 or 60 times since March,” said Anita Dunn, co-chair of the transition team. “When employees are asked: “What do the doctors say?” We know that David Kessler is one of the doctors that President-elect Biden has asked us to do. “
Dr. Kessler will join Operation Warp Speed at a critical time. Although the program is widely credited with enabling the development of two highly potent coronavirus vaccines in record time, It has been much less successful in actually delivering the recordings to the public – a complex task it shares with numerous federal, state, and local authorities.
The Trump administration had promised to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of 2020, but by Thursday just over 11 million vaccinations had been given, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At some vaccination sites, long lines of elderly people have lined up for hours waiting for a vaccine. For others, a lack of willing recipients forces vendors to offer the shots to random passers-by before the cans expire.
In late fall, Dr. Kessler told Mr. Biden that Operation Warp Speed was not prepared to get the shots into the arms of the people. The transition team said last week that the president-elect intends to set up vaccination sites in high schools, convention centers and mobile units to target high-risk populations. Details of the plans are expected on Friday.
Dr. In addition to working to accelerate vaccine delivery across the country, Kessler will also focus more on developing therapies. According to transitional officials, he plans to launch an extensive antiviral development program to treat Covid-19. He also wants to build capacity in the United States to manufacture vaccines against the coronavirus as well as against leading known pathogens.
Dr. Kessler is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor who became the leading government voice on the coronavirus pandemic. The two worked closely to expedite drug development and approval that changed the course of the AIDS epidemic of the 1990s.
When George Bush made him head of the F.D.A. In 1990 AIDS raged in the United States. During the tenure of Dr. Kessler was the F.D.A. issued new rules to speed up drug approval. The pharmaceutical industry developed a class of antiviral drugs called protease inhibitors to treat AIDS / H.I.V., some of which were approved within 40 days.