Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s multi-billion effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, will fund eight vaccines, according to the head of the program.
Five of those are already in Phase 3 clinical trials or will be starting by the end of September, said Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed.
“They are all different vaccines. They are actually going very fast,” he said, noting that the virus was identified just six months ago. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and the fastest thing that I ever can remember that went from discovery to Phase Three trials was in four years.”
So far, vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer are in Phase 3, or phase 2/3, of human testing in the US. That’s the final round of trials before a vaccine is put on the market. Each trial will include about 30,000 volunteers.
A vaccine from AstraZeneca and University of Oxford in the UK is in Phase 3 trials in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials for the vaccine in the US are scheduled to begin in August, Slaoui said.
Phase three trials for vaccines made by two other companies – Johnson & Johnson and Novavax – are scheduled to begin in September, he added.
Slaoui did not name the other three vaccines that will receive funding from Operation Warp Speed.
Health officials have said that having several vaccines in the pipeline will help ensure that at least one will be successful.