Out of all the actions the US government has—and has not—taken against the Covid-19 pandemic, only one has seen consistent effort: Investing in medical countermeasures.
The US has so far spent over $9 billion, mostly by awarding research and development contracts for testing, treatment, and vaccine. The latest such award, and largest yet, was $2.04 billion given to French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, together with GlaxoSmithKline, on July 30, to support clinical trials and manufacturing demonstrations. The US also reserved the right to acquire 500 million doses of the vaccine under development should it prove effective. The same project received about $31 million from the US government in April.
Most of these contracts are awarded through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, and many of the vaccine-related contracts are part of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), which, according to the HHS, “aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021.”
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