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Nov 09 2020

President-Elect Biden Announces CoVid-19 Task Force

As promised, President-Elect Joe Biden announced his 13 member CoVid-19 task force this afternoon.

“It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day,” Mr. Biden said in short remarks in Delaware after meeting with members of a newly formed Covid-19 advisory board. “It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view. We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”

He added: “Not Democratic or Republican lives — American lives.” [..]

In unveiling his Covid task force, Mr. Biden named Dr. Rick Bright, a former top vaccine official in the Trump administration who submitted a whistle-blower complaint to Congress, as a member of a Covid-19 panel to advise him during the transition, officials announced Monday morning.  [..]

Mr. Biden had already revealed the three co-chairs of the panel: Dr. Vivek Murthy, a surgeon general under former President Barack Obama, who has been a key Biden adviser for months and is expected to take a major public role; David Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for the first President George Bush and President Bill Clinton; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University.

On Monday, officials said the 13-member panel would also include Dr. Zeke Emanuel, the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the brother of Rahm Emanuel, an Obama administration adviser; Dr. Luciana Borio, a vice president at In-Q-Tel; Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine; Dr. Julie Morita, the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota; Loyce Pace, the executive director and president of Global Health Council; Dr. Robert Rodriguez and Dr. Eric Goosby, both professors at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Also drug maker Pfizer announced that data for it’s CoVid-19 vaccine was showing a more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease.

If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles. No serious safety concerns have been observed, the company said.

Pfizer plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data. By the end of the year it will have manufactured enough doses to immunize 15 to 20 million people, company executives have said.   [..]

Independent scientists have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected. And no one knows how long the vaccine’s protection might last. Still, the development makes Pfizer the first company to announce positive results from a late-stage vaccine trial, vaulting it to the front of a frenzied global race that began in January and has unfolded at record-breaking speed.

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