White House launching $5B program for next-gen COVID vaccines
The White House is launching a $5 billion effort to develop next-generation COVID-19 vaccines and rekindle some of the momentum from Operation Warp Speed, the Washington Post reports.
Why it matters: The initiative aims to create more durable protection in the face of a fast-changing virus and lackluster public interest in annual shots.
- White House coronavirus coordinator Ashish Jha, leader of the COVID task force which is disbanding next month, told the Post the effort will support creating long-lasting monoclonal antibodies, develop vaccines that produce mucosal immunity and accelerate work on pan-coronavirus vaccines.
Catch up quick: Experts have been calling for a widened focus that could comprise other vaccine technologies, such mucosal booster vaccination that establishes robust "sterilizing immunity" against COVID, as well as a so-called "universal" coronavirus vaccines.
What to watch: The $5 billion for the effort came after HHS was directed by the White House to shift funds for coronavirus testing, personal protective gear and other priorities, The Post reports.
- Expect Republican furor to ensue.