- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2020

The U.S. government is committing over $1 billion to secure at least 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine that’s being developed by Oxford University in Britain and licensed to pharma-giant AstraZeneca.

“I think it holds tremendous promise,” President Trump said during a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan. “But we have many other companies that are just about as far along.”

Initial-phase studies of the vaccine candidate are underway in the U.K.

The developers are using a platform technology that allows them to ramp up production rapidly, with support from the Trump administration through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Mr. Trump is eyeing a number of vaccine candidates, also name-checking Johnson and Johnson ahead of a trip to Michigan.

“We have a lot of things happening on the vaccine front, on the therapeutic front,” he told reporters, predicting “a lot of big announcements” over the next week or two.

A vaccine is considered the critical piece in getting the world back to normal following the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump wants to see a vaccine by the end of the year, if not before, and has launched a campaign called “Operation Warp Speed” to get there.

“This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “Getting a vaccine to the American public as soon as possible is one part of President Trump’s multi-faceted strategy for safely reopening our country and bringing life back to normal, which is essential to Americans’ physical and mental well-being in so many ways.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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