President-elect Joe Biden’s health care advisers met with drug companies before last week’s election about their efforts to produce coronavirus vaccines and treatments, a new report says.
Biden’s aides held the meetings in September and October with firms that are running late-stage clinical trials of vaccines and therapies for the deadly COVID-19 bug, according to Bloomberg News.
While Biden’s advisers broadly aimed to collect information about the development, production and distribution of the drugs, the talks also included discussion of Operation Warp Speed — the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar vaccine initiative that the former vice president will take over when he enters the White House in January, the news service reported Sunday.
Biden, however, has criticized President Trump’s emphasis on speed when it comes to vaccine development and his campaign has said Operation Warp Speed “lacks sound leadership.”
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Bloomberg that the president-elect wants to help develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, adding that his campaign aides got briefings from drug companies so they could be informed about the process.
The reported talks offer some hints about the approach Biden will take to the vaccine race after his inauguration — which will come at a time when drugmakers could be preparing to widely distribute COVID-19 shots.
Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, announced Monday that their experimental shot was more than 90 percent effective in a late-stage clinical trial, putting it on track to seek emergency approval from the feds by the end of this month. Biotech firm Moderna has also said it expects to know by the end of November whether its vaccine works.