Tags: Coronavirus | vaccines

Trump Deserves Gratitude for Mobilizing Vaccine 'Miracles'

trump holding up a piece of paper with covid information on it
President Donald Trump at a Coronavirus Task Force briefing. (AP)

By Monday, 04 January 2021 09:14 AM Current | Bio | Archive

We should all be enormously grateful for good reasons to hope that 2021 will finally offer relief from a dystopian year of death, despair, disruption and dysfunction.

Granted, there are no guarantees that the COVID crisis is over … no firm time schedule to sound an "all clear" siren…to return to those nostalgic "normal" conditions that so abruptly ended a year ago.

Nevertheless, few "experts" imagined that three new vaccines would materialize within 10 months after the first U.S. COVID death, rather than the 10 years it took to develop one for measles.

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci stated nine months ago that "It will take at least a year and a half to have a vaccine we can use."

After all, this is the same authority who Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed December 24 to be "Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Day" dedicated to "a hero to our nation during this incredibly difficult year, working tirelessly to save lives and guide our nation's response to recovery from this pandemic."

But with all due credit, Tony Fauci wasn't the one that brought about that 10-month vaccine "miracle."

Dr. Paul Offit, a co-inventor of the first rotavirus vaccine in 2006 following 26 years of research, had told CNN, "When Dr. Fauci said 12 to 18 months, I thought this was ridiculously optimistic." Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, added, "and I'm sure he did, too."

A New York Times feature agreed with Dr. Offit, declaring that "The grim truth behind this rosy forecast is that a vaccine probably won't arrive any time soon."

The Times observed that any promising vaccine would encounter a bureaucratic FDA approval nightmare where for every scientist there are three lawyers that care only about liability. Those reviews typically take another full year.

Any claims that "corners were cut" in the clinical trials or the government's safety review and approval procedures are unfounded. Key reasons the process went faster than usual are because of rapid worldwide research on the coronavirus genetics that began last January with new scientific tools that made it possible to "read" the COVID-19 genetic material of the virus in days, rather than months.

Meanwhile, scientists and vaccine makers had already been working for years to develop a "platform" approach that uses messenger RNA (mRNA) as the delivery agent to teach the body how to recognize and fight a new virus.

The first vaccines to reach the market use this platform strategy. Other vaccines that are still being studied are based on vaccine strategies that have been used in the past, but these take longer.

Another big reason for spectacularly rapid progress was the Trump administration's government agreement to pay successfully competing companies to produce large amounts of their vaccines in advance, even while trials were testing how well the vaccines actually worked in people.

If those clinical trials showed a vaccine didn't work, or had unacceptable side effects, it would be thrown out – but the company wouldn't lose money. On the other hand, if the trials showed a vaccine worked and was safe, the companies would be ready to ship it out – which is what's happening now.

So yes, leaders of federal agencies, including directors of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases played vital roles in expediting and monitoring those developments.

The approval process through the FDA employed an independent panel of experts to critically review the vaccine makers' study data before voting to approve their use on an emergency basis. The FDA also requires the companies to continue to track what happens to people who take part in its studies.

The CDC will monitor what happens to people who get the vaccine outside the studies.

And yes, hundreds of medical and public health schools, along with their associated research labs and tens of thousands of epidemiologists, virologists and other specialists, contributed in various ways to this progress. Many rightly claim that the virus' genome couldn't have been sequenced or prepared for fragile mRNA vaccine delivery systems without their help.

Let's also give some credit for major research and development efforts on the part of private organizations and donors such as the Gates Foundation which established a major "alliance to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines" (CEPTI) in Davos, Switzerland as well.

And let's certainly not forget those all-important private, profit-seeking pharmaceutical corporations, including Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, BioMTech and Novavax who made the heavy lifting breakthroughs. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which have been approved for emergency use are already on the way, and others are reportedly close behind.

All well and good reasons to be thankful, but not without recognizing the true leadership hero most responsible for transforming those timescale "fantasies" into "miracles" that those "experts" so recently dismissed and even ridiculed.

None of this would have happened were it not for President Donald J. Trump's Operation Warp Speed which organized and mobilized the great competitively innovative forces of American capitalism in a massive crisis intervention effort comparable to the Manhattan Project that led to victory in World War II.

It was Donald Trump who enlisted Moncef Slaoui — a former Moderna executive who divested himself of $12.4 million in stock options he held in that company — to manage and expedite the successful enterprise.

Recall that on January 31 — the day after the CDC publicly confirmed the first person-to-person COVID-19 transmission — Trump had overruled the WHO "experts" and shut down flights from China. Joe Biden criticized the China travel ban, stating, "This is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria and xenophobia."

In mid-March, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that immediately launched a massive COVID testing program, and invoked the Defense Production Act, delegating authority to HHS and FEMA to produce and deliver humongous numbers of ventilators, surgical masks and gloves, and hospital beds for health care workers.

These efforts drew sincere praise from Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newson of California and Phil Murphy of New Jersey.

Whereas the Trump-Pence administration scored repeated COVID field goals, the Obama-Biden administration punted with the Swine Flu pandemic which, very fortunately, was far less deadly.

And despite President-elect Biden's despairingly depressing forecasts of a dark winter ahead that "will only get worse," the rollout of Trump's miracle vaccines finally promises bright, long-awaited hopes for recovery.

Remember who to thank when you get that encouraging shot in the arm.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 700 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "How Everything Happened, Including Us" (2020), "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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We should all be enormously grateful for good reasons to hope that 2021 will finally offer relief from a dystopian year of death, despair, disruption and dysfunction.
Monday, 04 January 2021 09:14 AM
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