Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said in an interview with Science that he would resign from his role if there was undue interference in the Covid-19 vaccine effort.
“I would immediately resign if there is undue interference in this process,” Slaoui said in the interview, published Thursday. He also said that he would be “out” if he saw a push for a US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization that he didn’t believe in.
“I have to say there has been absolutely no interference,” Slaoui said. “Despite my past, which is still my present, I am still the same person with the same values. The pandemic is much bigger than that. Before being a political person with convictions, humanity has always been my objective.”
When asked if he and the Trump administration had discussed waiting to ask for an emergency use authorization until after Election Day, Slaoui said an EUA should be requested when it has evidence of safety and efficacy.
“I have to say, maybe even despite my personal political views, that I don’t think that’s right, because 1,000 people die every day [from COVID-19],” Slaoui said. “If a vaccine [had evidence of safety and efficacy] on 25 October, it should be [requested] on 25 October. If it’s 17 November, it should be 17 November. If it’s 31 December, it should be 31 December,” he said.
“It needs to be absolutely shielded from the politics,” he said. “I cannot control what people say. The President says things, other people will say things. Trust me, there will be no EUA filed if it’s not right.”