President Donald Trump on Monday cheered the news that a coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna had reached phase three of its clinical trial.
“I’m therefore proud to announce that this morning the Moderna has officially entered phase three already,” Trump said, noting that it was a final stage of vaccine development.
Typically, vaccines take a year and a half to develop, but the president and his administration are racing to develop a vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed.
“We’ve done it while maintaining the FDA gold standard for safety,” Trump said. “This is the fastest a vaccine for a novel pathogen has ever gone.”
The president celebrated the achievement during a visit to the Bioprocess Innovation Center at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, North Carolina.
Trump said that four other vaccines were also expected to enter phase three trials in the coming weeks, including vaccines from Pfizer and Novavax.
The president also announced that the Department of Health and Human Services had signed a $265 million contract with Fujifilm Texas A&M innovation to expand vaccine production capacity.
The news of the Moderna vaccine trials was also celebrated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said in a statement:
Results from early-stage clinical testing indicate the investigational mRNA-1273 vaccine is safe and immunogenic, supporting the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial. This scientifically rigorous, randomized, placebo-controlled trial is designed to determine if the vaccine can prevent COVID-19 and for how long such protection may last.
Trump urged all Americans to continue fighting the spread of the virus.
“I trust all Americans to do the right thing. But we strongly advise everyone to especially, especially focus on maintaining a social distance, maintaining rigorous hygiene, avoid large gatherings and crowded indoor bars, and wear masks when appropriate.”
Trump said that the production of the most promising vaccine candidates would continue so that they would be ready “on day one” to deliver to the American people.
“I heard very positive things, but by the end of the year we think we’re in very good shape to be doing that,” Trump said, when asked about a timeline.