US President Donald Trump on Friday announced the appointment of Moroccan scientist Moncef Selawi as head of US government efforts to develop and distribute a vaccine for the Coronavirus.
It is expected that the scientific team supervised by Al-Salawi will include a senior Pentagon official, General Gustav Perna, in order to intensify cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Defense in order to develop an effective vaccine for the Coronavirus as soon as possible.
How did Trump choose it?
The dismissal of Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the Advanced Biomedical Research and Development Authority, who is the senior government official in charge of drug and antibiotic development, represented an opportunity for the US administration to search for an official with the scientific mission to combat the Corona epidemic in hand.
Trump dismissed Dr. Bright against the background of his opposition to the use of the drug “hydroxychloroquine” in treating Corona patients, contrary to what President Trump demanded.
Bright later warned of the dangers ahead and stated that the United States would know “the darkest winter of contemporary American history”, referring to the coming winter.
The White House sought to select a person with special scientific and administrative specifications to oversee a broad government team with the goal of achieving an effective vaccine against Corona.
The preliminary list of candidates included a number of world leaders in the field of drug development, headed by Salawi and an Algerian-Algerian scientist, Elias Zerhouni, who previously headed the American National Health Institute during the era of President George W. Bush, and who has extensive experience in developing vaccines at Sanofi.
President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Debra Brix, a member of the Corona Crisis Management team at the White House, as well as Health Secretary Alex Azar interviewed Dr. Al-Salawi, resulting in their consensus that he was the right man for the difficult tasks.
Dr. Al-Salawi’s position did not always coincide with what President Trump declares regarding the future of access to an effective vaccine or a vaccine that eliminates the Coronavirus, and Al-Salawi confirmed that he will not change his convictions after the news spread of his choice of this position.
Conflicts of interests
In the beginning, Dr. Al-Salawi did not show any interest in the high position and reiterated that he was focused on his research and work in the field of investment in areas related to the health sector.
The selection of Al-Salawi led to the exit of a number of warnings regarding “conflicts of interest” because Al-Salawi is one of the loyal sons of the pharmaceutical companies, as he previously supervised for more than eight years the Sera Research Units in Glasgow until he left in 2017, to start a journey with investments in health.
Al-Salawi also supervised several deals for a company related to the acquisition of smaller companies, but not all of its results were satisfactory to the company’s shareholders, according to a news report.
The “Public Citizen” organization, in a statement obtained by Al-Jazeera Net, expressed its fears of “clear conflicts of interests between Dr. Al-Sallawi and his relations with the pharmaceutical industry and the new position.”
and fair history of Al- Salawi is a Moroccan expert in the pharmaceutical industry who lives in the United States of America, and previously worked as head of the vaccines division at the “Glasgow Smith Klein” company, and the appointment of Al-Salawi reflects the Trump administration’s desire to accelerate the development of an anti-Corona vaccine.
Dr. Al-Salawi was born in the city of Agadir, and he moved, at the age of seventeen, to study in Belgium, from which he returned with a doctorate in molecular biology and immunology studies.
Al-Salawi completed his medical studies and research at Harvard University and Tufts University in Massachusetts, before heading to the head of the vaccines department at the “Glasgow Smith Klein” company.
It has been previously expressed during press interviews that there are eight hundred clinical studies conducted in the world in order to determine all the characteristics that are related to the Coronavirus in order to reach an effective vaccine that limits its spread, which he hopes to reach during this year or next year at the latest.