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Biden picks ex-FDA chief to lead virus vaccine efforts

David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed that aims to develop, manufacture, distribute COVID-19 vaccines

Beyza Binnur Dönmez   | 15.01.2021
Biden picks ex-FDA chief to lead virus vaccine efforts


US President-elect Joe Biden on Friday announced his pick to lead federal COVID-19 vaccine efforts, Dr. David Kessler, who served as a former head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Kessler currently serves as a co-chair of the COVID-19 Task Force for Biden and will lead Operation Warp Speed -- an initiative that began under President Donald Trump's administration to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

He led the FDA from 1990 to 1997 under President George H.W. Bush.

Biden also announced several more names that will have essential roles in the country's fight against the virus.

He named Amy Chang as the policy advisor, Abbe Gluck as the special counsel, Rosa Po as the deputy chief of staff of the COVID Response Team, Andy Slavitt as the senior advisor to the COVID Response Coordinator, Vidur Sharma as the policy advisor for testing, Ben Wakana as the deputy director of Strategic Communications & Engagement, and B. Cameron Webb as the senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity.

"We are in a race against time, and we need a comprehensive strategy to quickly contain this virus. The individuals announced today will bolster the White House’s COVID-19 Response team and play important roles in carrying out our rescue plan and vaccination program," Biden said in a statement.

"At a time when American families are facing numerous challenges, I know these public servants will do all that is needed to build our nation back better."

The US continues to be the worst-hit country by the virus with over 23.3 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country as well as nearly 389,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, about 51.5 million people have recovered from the disease.

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