Biden announces COVID-19 advisory board as Pfizer announces promising early vaccine data

first_imgThe board also includes Dr. Luciana Borio, who was until 2019 director for medical and biodefense preparedness on Trump’s National Security Council; Dr. Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who became a whistleblower over the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic; Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, of the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Atul Gawande, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy director Dr. Michael Osterholm; University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine professor Dr. Eric Goosby, who was global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama; Dr. Celine Gounder, of New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive vice president Dr. Julie Morita; the Global Health Council’s Dr. Loyce Pace; and Dr. Robert Rodriguez, another UCSF School of Medicine professor.Biden is, as promised, taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously and putting together a group of scientists to advise him. Unfortunately, Team Trump can be expected to stay in Biden’s way as he tries to prepare a robust public health response to the pandemic while Trump himself has a sustained temper tantrum over losing. Mike Pence tried to take a victory lap, claiming credit for the vaccine news—but “We were never part of the Warp Speed,” Pfizer’s head of vaccine research had already said on the record. “We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”The advisory board Biden announced is co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Nunez-Smith is an especially significant choice, since she studies discrimination in the healthcare system, an important topic in a pandemic that has hit Black and Latino communities so hard.”Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img At one time or another, Biden’s COVID-19 team will have to administer vaccine distribution. The Pfizer news suggests it may be sooner rather than later and that Biden may be inheriting a process Donald Trump has already messed up. “I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope,” Biden said in a statement responding to the Pfizer news. But he also warned that “the end of the battle against COVID-19 is many months away,” because even if the timeline stays in place, “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.” For that reason, Biden again emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing.- Advertisement –last_img read more