Ep. 113: “To Boldly Go,” with Operation Warp Speed’s Moncef Slaoui

Conversations with Mike Milken

Dec 2020

22 min 59 sec

“The efficacy of these vaccines is spectacular. It's 95%, the same whether you are an African-American or Hispanic or over 65 years old. … Remarkably, these two vaccines developed in different companies, two different continents, give incredibly similar results, totally independent, which is also enhancing the likelihood that these data absolutely are real.” In a triumph of modern science and leadership, millions of highly effective doses of COVID-19 vaccines are currently being manufactured, distributed, and administered around the world. For this, much credit goes to Moncef Slaoui, the Chief Science Officer for Operation Warp Speed, a U.S. public–private partnership that has fostered development of these breakthrough drugs.

The Moroccan-born Slaoui – who previously worked on vaccines for the H1N1, Ebola, and Zika viruses in a 30-year career at GlaxoSmithKline – tells Mike that the lessons learned in 2020 should inspire investments to prevent future pandemics. “I think that would be my way forward. We are bleeding $20 billion a day; let's spend $300 million a year when we don't have a pandemic. Let's be preventative.”

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