From his office in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Montana Senator Steve Daines conducted a ZOOM call with FDA Deputy Commissioner Anand Shah for an update on development of treatments for COVID 19.
Daines called his plan ‘Operation Warp Speed’ meaning federal authorities are pulling out all the stops in an effort to find an effective treatment for the worldwide pandemic.
“Nationally, my effort will be called ‘Operation Warp Speed’, and that is what the White House is calling this overall project,” said Daines. “The beginnings of that were when I secured $10 billion, in which I worked with Senate leadership as well as working directly with the President and the Vice President, which I believe will have a significant payoff for the American people.”
Dr. Shah first thanked Senator Daines for his leadership on this project.
“I do want to take an opportunity to personally acknowledge and thank Senator Daines and his leadership on these issues,” said Dr. Shah. “Senator, it was your push to include $10 billion in the CARES Act earlier this year to advance the search for a COVID 19 vaccine and therapeutics that will really help accelerate the timeline for finding and manufacturing effective therapies and a vaccine for all Americans.”
Dr. Shah spoke of a new program to help rapidly develop new treatments.
“Near the start of the pandemic the FDA created an emergency review and development program for potential therapies called the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, or C-TAP,” he said. “We’ve been reassigning staff and working day and night to review inquiries and proposals from all corners.”
Dr. Shah echoed Daines’ concerns that nearly all of America’s medicines are now manufactured in other countries, many not friendly to the U.S.
“The pandemic has rained concerns for the FDA and many in Congress with the nation’s reliance on foreign source drug products, and the impact this could have on the stability of the U.S. drug supply,” he said. “Advanced manufacturing is really a collective term for new medical products where small footprint manufacturing technologies can be used to improve drug quality, address shortages of medication and speed time to market.”
Also on the ZOOM call were various healthcare officials from around the state.