Is Dr. Fauci Trying to Steal the Credit for All the Vaccines Delivered by Operation Warp Speed?

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

On Sunday Night, CNN ran a special, “Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out ” (“Covid War”) which gave rise to the narrative embodied in the following headlines (which cross the political spectrum, from the Independent to the Daily Mail):

All these stories are basically wrappers for a Fauci quote from “Covid War,” which I’ll get to, and if you look carefully, the headlines are pretty vague. What does “pioneered” mean, and is OWS “the project”? What “decision” did Fauci make? What does “started the ball rolling” mean?

So how much credit should we give Fauci? How much credit should we give to Operation Warp Speed? And what is the over-arching narrative that the Biden administration, through Fauci, and with the help of CNN, is trying to construct?

First, let’s get the question Fauci’s role in Operation Warp Speed (OWS) out of the way. He had none. Here is the OWS org chart:

Fauci appears nowhere on it, nor does his institutional base, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of which he is Director. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Fauci did not interface or liaison with OWS. But he played no role within it. If you will look at the bottom middle of the chart, you will see the vaccine developers involved: Johnson and Johnson (Jannsen), Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Sanofi, AstraZenaca, and Pfizer (the agreement with Pfizer was for purchase only).

Now let’s see what Fauci actually said on CNN. There are no clips up on the Internet yet, but here is a CNN transcript. The interview is Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 40 percent increase in New York hospitals in just 24 hours.

FAUCI: That’s a big number. When I saw what happened in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Refrigerated trucks are now being mobilized as makeshift works.

FAUCI: Almost over running of our health care system. It was like, oh, my goodness. And that’s when it became very clear that the decision, we made on January the 10th, to go all out and develop a vaccine. We have a number of vaccine candidates may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made with regard to an intervention as the Director of the Institute.

GUPTA (voice-over): The life saving and record-breaking vaccines that Dr. Fauci oversaw, were a giant success for the doctors, for science and for the world. But remember, a vaccine does nothing for the patient on the table. In this case, the hundreds of thousands who perished before science could save them.

Gupta clearly assigns credit for all the vaccines to Fauci, who “oversaw” them, and if Fauci disagreed, the transcript doesn’t show it. How Fauci oversaw OWS vaccine development without being on OWS’s org chart is a question that I’m not sure science can answer; perhaps Fauci’s oversight was supernatural.

Turning to what Fauci said, we have the curious date of “January 10.” (At this point, we remember — oh my goodness — that Fauci was saying people didn’t need to mask up as late as February 15). What happened on January 10?

Here’s “the decision” that happened on January 10. From Science Magazine. The institutional players are Fauci’s NAIAD, and the The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), essentially a globalist vaccine accelerator NGO[1].

Each of the three efforts that CEPI supports began within hours after Chinese researchers first posted a sequence of 2019-CoV in a public database. That happened on Friday evening, 10 January, in Bethesda, Maryland, home of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Barney Graham, deputy director of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, began to analyze the sequence with his team on Saturday morning. The following Monday, Graham discussed his findings with researchers at Moderna, a vaccinemaker. On Tuesday, they signed a deal to collaborate.

(The other two CEPI efforts were Innovio and the University of Queensland. Innovio’s vaccine is expected in the second quarter of this year. The Queensland trial was cancelled.) So, of the six OWS vaccines (excluding Pfizer) we see that Fauci’s NIAID “oversaw” only one, Moderna, despite Gupta’s grotesque distortion and Fauci’s unblushing acceptance of it.[2]

Fauci described the Moderna/NIAID effort this way in Scientific American on January 22, 2020:

How long will it be before we have a vaccine for this virus?

We’ve already started to develop a vaccine. We got the [genetic] sequence from the Chinese. We’re partnering with a company called Moderna to develop a messenger RNA–based [mRNA] platform for a vaccine. We will likely have a candidate in early phase I trials for safety in about three months. That doesn’t mean we will have a vaccine ready for use in three months; even in an emergency, that would take a year or more. But we’re already on it.

Here Fauci, correctly, says “a vaccine” (singular), Moderna, versus Gupta’s “life saving and record-breaking vaccines” (plural), which Fauci allows to stand uncorrected.

So, I give Fauci full marks for his January decision to fire up an mRNA development effort with CEPI, NAIAD, and Moderna. If Fauci wishes to think of himself as a “pioneer,” have at it, say I. That in no sense means that he “oversaw” all vaccine development. It also does not mean that Fauci’s program architecture was best for the American people. Fauci’s program architecture had a single-threaded development process with an NGO accelerator funded in the millions. OWS’s program architecture had parallel development process funded in the billions.

Fauci understand the problem: Risk. From an interview Fauci did on Face the Nation:

MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you speed up that timeline and how do you fix the problem you said you have, which is finding a manufacturer?

DR. FAUCI: Right. Well, first of all, MARGARET, that one year timeline would be the world’s indoor record of ever getting a vaccine out, at least to be able to early deploy. You can’t do any better than that. If you go any faster, you’ll be cutting dangerous corners.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And no manufacturer, yet?

DR. FAUCI: Oh yeah manufacturers. Once you get a vaccine that, you know works, the difficulty is having companies take that risk of hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to scale up to make it available.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. So you’re still looking for a partner on that?

DR. FAUCI: I think we’re gonna get them–

Meaning he doesn’t have them–

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

DR. FAUCI: –because I’m seeing interest on the part of pharmaceutical companies that we did not see with SARS and other outbreaks.

Here is how OWS handled risk. From NC, “Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” Covid-19 Vaccine Development Program: Dominated by Military Personnel, Accused of Corruption“:

I have been remiss in not covering Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the public/private partnership the Trump administration set up to develop a vaccine for Covid-19. Bloomberg described the origin and purpose of OWS back in April, in “Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Aims to Rush Coronavirus Vaccine“:

The Trump administration is organizing a Manhattan Project-style effort to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal of making enough doses for most Americans by year’s end.

Called “Operation Warp Speed,” the program will pull together private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military to try to cut the development time for a vaccine by as much as eight months, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Vaccine development is typically slow and high risk. The project’s goal is to cut out the slow part, the people said. Operation Warp Speed will use government resources to quickly test the world’s most promising experimental vaccines in animals, then launch coordinated human clinical trials to winnow down the candidates.

The best prospective vaccines would go into wider trials at the same time mass production ramps up.

The project will cost billions of dollars, one of the people said. And it will almost certainly result in significant waste by making inoculations at scale before knowing if they’ll be safe and effective — meaning that vaccines that fail will be useless. But it could mean having doses of vaccine available for the American public by the end of this year, instead of by next summer.

The parallel development and manufacture of vaccines seems, well, innovative to me, and in a good way. Since the alternative to a vaccine is ruin, the project really shouldn’t be descibed as “wasteful.”

In short, the OWS program architecture minimized risk by guaranteeing the pharmaceutical companies a market, and by developing multiple vaccines in parallel; one was likely to pan out even if all the others failed; in the end, we got at least three. By contrast, Fauci’s program architecture, at the very best, would have given us a single vaccine (and Moderna a monopoly), and at the worst, nothing at all. I don’t want to sound like a squeeing MBA-clutching fan boy, but it feels to me like a business or engineerin imagination — I don’t know who, and I’m not saying Trump — came up with OWS, and Fauci’s imagination was not adequate for the task.

A final word on the propaganda effort in which the Biden Administration, Fauci, and the press are colluding. First, the American public has already been primed for crediting Fauci with “the life saving and record-breaking vaccines,” as Gupta baselessly puts it. I tried to track down the origin of “Fauci ouchie,” referring to the jab, and gave up with some Etsy links in June 2020. He’s somehow managed to get all the vaccines named after him, so posts like this, sadly, are swimming against the tide. Second, a cult of personality is accreting around “America’s Doctor,”, much one did around Hero Of The Resistance™ Robert Mueller; people named their dogs after him. For example:

Finallly, Teh Science. From the White House, this charming video:

Readers know I love science. But I don’t confuse science with “the science,” and I certainly don’t confuse either with scientists, and especially not scientists embedded in a political faction. In the video above, Fauci carefully erases a program architecture that was superior to his own and of great benefit to the American people, by giving all the credit to science. It’s as if he gave all the credit for the success of the Manhattan Project to Oppenheimer, Teller, et al., and none to General Leslie Groves (or FDR, for that matter). He does so having allowed a television personality to make baseless claims about his responsibility for all vaccine development, although his efforts, albeit showing great initiative, hastened the development of one vaccine among many.

NOTES

[1] From CEPI’s About page:

CEPI is an innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations launched in Davos in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics.

Our mission is to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks.

[2] Fauci knows very that that OWS played a crucial role in developing and delivering Modena’s vaccine. Here is a photo from the Defense Department:

The caption:

From left: Drs. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Matt Hepburn of the Defense Department; and Francis Collins, NIH director, stand for a photo at NIH in Bethesda, Md., July 27, 2020, while launching the first efficacy trial of an investigational vaccine for COVID-19 under Operation Warp Speed.

The “first efficacy trial of an investigational vaccine” was, as it happened, Moderna. From the NIH press release describing the July 27 event:

NIAID scientists developed the stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike immunogen (S-2P). SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19; the spike protein on its surface facilitates entry into a cell. Moderna’s mRNA-1273 uses the mRNA (messenger RNA) delivery platform to encode for an S-2P immunogen. The investigational vaccine directs the body’s cells to express the spike protein to elicit a broad immune response. A Phase 1 clinical trial found the candidate vaccine to be safe, generally well-tolerated and able to induce antibodies with high levels of virus-neutralizing activity. Moderna initiated Phase 2 testing of the vaccine in May 2020.

Credit where credit is due. And:

Moderna is leading the trial as the regulatory sponsor and is providing the investigational vaccine for the trial. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and NIAID are providing funding support for the trial. The vaccine efficacy trial is the first to be implemented under Operation Warp Speed, a multi-agency collaboration led by HHS that aims to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of medical countermeasures for COVID-19.

And credit where credit is due. Would it really have been so hard for Fauci to interrupt Gupta and at least utter some generalities about “team effort”?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

47 comments

  1. Carolinian

    So what you are saying is that we are once again being deluged with propaganda and CNN may be at the bottom of it. Could have knocked me over with a feather.

    Reply
  2. Steve Ardire

    Pfizer didn’t receive any funding from Operation Warp Speed for the development, clinical trial and manufacturing of the vaccine https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-09/pfizer-vaccine-s-funding-came-from-berlin-not-washington
    Partner BioNTech received $445 million from German government

    Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is a major beneficiary of Operation Warp Speed https://www.businessinsider.com/moderna-vaccine-trial-was-part-of-trump-operation-warp-speed-2020-11?utmSource=twitter&utmContent=referral&utmTerm=topbar&referrer=twitter

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      I’d say the point to be made is that all the pharmacorps sucked up lots of public money to develop the products that they will sell back to us for lots more than it will cost them to produce, market and distribute. The US govt has signed up to pay them just under $2 billion for 100 million doses, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/22/health/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-government-contract/index.html

      Pfizer and most of the others are also holding onto and profiting from the patents, and will nail us for the future costs of any needed boosters and new versions that might be needed to inoculate us against the variants that seem likely to spread.

      Fauci is just carrying on the disgraceful “tradition” of stolen valor… and Trump’s habit of claiming greatness for everything he, Trump, ever did.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’d say the point to be made is that all the pharmacorps sucked up lots of public money to develop the products that they will sell back to us for lots more than it will cost them to produce, market and distribute.

        It doesn’t matter. The Federal government does not have the operational capacity to stand up and run a Manhattan Project now. If you want the vaccines, the only path was through Big Pharma. Maybe, with some luck, we can claw back the IP and some profits.

        Reply
        1. philnc

          Historical point: The Federal government _did not_ have the operational capacity to stand up and run a Manhattan Project _then_ either. But they did it anyway. With some effort by some very smart, and not-so-smart, people who gave a crap. Same for the New Deal programs before the War. You know what the difference was? Back then the government hadn’t been completely overrun by spineless, cowardly, obsequious careerists who were solely focused on their own fame, fortune and power. If there’s ever a COVID truth and reconciliation commission, Fauci’s role in the deaths of hundreds of thousands who latched on to his early cynically self-serving pronouncements on masks (and airborne transmission) _that surely pleased his superior_, should be put front and center. We all know Fauci wasn’t alone in this, but he has, after all, invited the spotlight.

          Reply
    2. Fern

      First off, I suspect that our contracts with Pfizer under Warp Speed helped to accelerate the manufacturing. Secondly, without Moderna, we would not have enough vaccine to meet this new variant-fueled wave. Here is a link to the companies that signed contracts under Warp Speed. It includes the successful Novavax and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as Pfizer and Moderna. These purchase guarantees surely helped spur development and manufacturing, over and above the direct development subsidies.

      I agree with Lambert; it’s been bothering me for some time that Trump is given no credit for Warp Speed. He made the right call in the face of a lot of criticism. It was a bold move, he lucked out and we were the beneficiaries. Occasionally, throwing money at a problem works. When politicians luck out, they are usually given at least a modicum of credit.

      https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/pharmacy/13-drugmakers-contracted-by-operation-warp-speed-in-2020.html

      Reply
      1. Fern

        Here’s a good article that describes the OWS purchase deal with Pfizer. This contract looks like it was signed back in July.

        Excerpt:

        “The drugmaker has downplayed its involvement in Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s more than $10 billion program to make a coronavirus vaccine available in record time. Although Pfizer didn’t receive government funding this spring toward research and development of the vaccine, it nevertheless received one of the largest Operation Warp Speed supply contracts to date on July 21.”

        “That nearly $2 billion contract will pay for 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine at a price of $19.50 per dose if the vaccine is OK’d by the Food and Drug Administration. The government also has the option to buy up to 500 million more doses.”

        https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/11/24/938591815/pfizers-coronavirus-vaccine-supply-contract-excludes-many-taxpayer-protections

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I agree with Lambert; it’s been bothering me for some time that Trump is given no credit for Warp Speed. He made the right call in the face of a lot of criticism. It was a bold move, he lucked out and we were the beneficiaries

        It’s madness. Liberal Democrats are actively making it harder for the country to learn from success. They are actively making us stupider. (I mean, does anything believe that Covid will be the last pandemic?). It would be so much better to peel off OWS implementors by praising them. Instead, the Halo Effect controls, and a program that delivered enormous, life-saving benefits to the American people is erased Because Trump, and the people who did the work are shunted aside and stigmatized. It’s amazing.

        (I don’t know who came up with the program architecture for OWS, but whoever they are deserves a [family blogging] medal. So do the people who made the case to Trump. I give Trump credit for giving the OK, and nothing more, but it never would have happened if he hadn’t done so, and in any case that’s what we hired him to do.

        Reply
        1. SteveD

          > actively making us stupider

          Yes, *and* quickly memory-holing the idea that Government, as an Institution, can actually *do something* to help. Cannot allow that notion to take hold, no sir. Repeat after me: The answer is Markets. Markets, Markets, Markets.

          Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment raises some questions about the necessity for Government finance for private development of the Corona vaccine. I have trouble believing that lack of a manufacturer and difficulty with having companies invest to scale up vaccine production explains, as Dr. Fauci seems to suggest, the ordinary non-Warp Speed delays in the vaccine development and approvals process. I suspect the real story behind Warp Speed mRNA vaccine development is much more ‘interesting’.

      I ran across this the other day: “Agricultural spray could quickly deliver advantageous genes to crops mid-growing season” https://blog.pnas.org/2021/03/agricultural-spray-could-quickly-deliver-advantageous-genes-to-crops-mid-growing-season/
      As an end around to GMO labels — “Gleba views this RNA-based spray as having the most immediate promise for commercialization, as it may sidestep some of the regulatory hurdles governing the release of DNA into the environment.” Donning my tinfoil hat — I imagine all sorts of other applications will open up for mRNA gene fiddling as long as the Corona vaccines can avoid problems. I still do not understand why the mRNA or virus encapsulated DNA based approaches could not have been used to infect some vat grown organism that could produce large quantities of Corona spicules for harvest and incorporation into an otherwise conventional vaccine — offering greater stability in storage and distribution, and probably less cost per dose. For that matter what about using the supposedly well-understood techniques for GMO to create a vat organism — assuming those techniques are really as well-understood, well-behaved, and straightforward as claimed. I can also imagine how much testing cost and risk the Government has absorbed for Big Pharma to develop and gain acceptance for the mRNA and virus encapsulated DNA delivery techniques. I believe Government blessings upon those delivery techniques are the profit grail Big Pharma hopes the Corona pandemic will confer to their bottom lines. Corona vaccines are gravy.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I have trouble believing that lack of a manufacturer and difficulty with having companies invest to scale up vaccine production explains

        One of the unique aspects of OWS was that, with the payment guarantee, manufacturing could be ramped up before the vaccines were approved. That’s something only government can do. In addition, multiple efforts ran in parallel. Faced with a multiplicative process, that’s the best way to reduce risk for the American people. Fauci’s program architecture, which at best would have culminated in a monopoly for Moderna, and at worst with nothing, was both slower and riskier. And these are business/engineering judgements not scientific (which is one reason why the PMC narrative on “the science” annoys me so much).

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Parallel efforts can result in faster results. The Government played a significant role in turning Penicillin from a lab curiosity into the widely available Penicillin we know today:
          “So Pfizer, in 1941, was asked by the US and British governments to accomplish large-scale penicillin production by means of deep tank fermentation. Merck, Lederle, and Squibb were also asked to join in this effort, with all the companies required to share their findings.”
          “A BRIEF HISTORY OF PFIZER CENTRAL RESEARCH” Lombardino, Bull. Hist. Chem., VOLUME 25, Number 1 (2000) http://acshist.scs.illinois.edu/ bulletin_open_access/v25-1/v25-1%20p10-15.pdf

          I am not aware of any parallel efforts to develop a more conventional Corona vaccine, or a vaccine based on GMO techniques to modify an organism for vat production of Corona antigens. The mRNA technique was novel, well protected by patents and there is great interest in using it to treat a long list of diseases that might only be treated using the mRNA techniques. The Johnson&Johnson use of the cold virus to package Corona DNA appears at first look like an effort to use patents they held to get around the delivery means patents — the lipid capsule around the mRNA protecting the mRNA contents.

          I continue to have trouble believing that lack of a manufacturer and difficulty with having companies invest to scale up vaccine production explains the ordinary delay in the vaccine development and approval process:
          “…the vaccine EUA which would have required proceeding to a full BLA [biologics license application] and that would have taken years or so, even ‘hurrying’ as much as possible.” From a lawyer’s email quoted in Yves comment at 8:50 am in (“It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin” https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/03/its-time-to-talk-about-ivermectin.html )

          The EUA cut through a lot of BLA process which leaved me wondering what protections the BLA contains that the EUA cuts, and how much of the BLA process is red-tape that serves as a barrier to new entries to the Pharma ‘market’ or as a barrier to approval for new applications for existing medicines — like Ivermectin. The new mRNA and J&J processes for creating vaccines may be a major advance, but something is wrong if it requires a pandemic and a EUA to get these vaccine techniques moved into practice. I suspect the rise of Moderna might have an interesting back-story.

          Reply
    4. Yves Smith

      Do you have a reading comprehension problem? The post clearly states the OWS deal with Pfizer was for distribution only. Or are you deliberately straw manning?

      Reply
    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Pfizer didn’t receive any funding from Operation Warp Speed for the development, clinical trial and manufacturing of the vaccine

      Yes, that is why I wrote: ” Pfizer (the agreement with Pfizer was for purchase only).”

      > Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is a major beneficiary of Operation Warp Speed’

      Yes, see footnote [2] for detail.

      Reply
  3. Michael

    FaUci. Just another fake leader out of his area like Clapper, Brennan, Kamala, Gates, Blinken, Clinton etc

    The list is so long. I hope today’s youth wake up before they are plowed under for good, like the last generation.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      I’m concerned about one of my sons who is a high school senior. I found my copy of Econned in his room the other day. I guess I need to discuss the facts of life with him. (No kidding, he took it from my book shelf. He left the Bukowski, HST, Bierce and Chandler alone.)

      Reply
      1. Jack Parsons

        Do you have any Burroughs lying around for the lad?
        Better him than Mandingo novels, like my parents had.

        Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    And if things go south with the long-term side effects of these vaccines, I am sure that Fauci will speak up and say that he had nothing to do with them and it was all Trump’s fault for pushing risky stuff too fast. And to justify this, he will say that he was not even in the Operation Warp Speed organizational chart so how could he have influenced any of the decisions made? If you want to know what Fauci is all about, consider the following tweet thread, starting with-

    ‘Dr. Anthony Fauci told the top lobbyist for the biotech drug industry that he opposes price controls on COVID-19 vaccines. “Obviously it’s a profit driven industry … I’ve never seen a successful attempt at controls.” Hopes industry works in “good faith.” ‘

    https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/1372938397057126401

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Perhaps Biden-Harris is giving Dr. Fauci plenty of rope in case there are unforeseen problems with the Corona vaccines and they need to hang blame around a ready neck. Dumping on Trump loses potency if Trump’s support withers. Nice to have a near but not too near living head to hang blame upon. I believe the Fauci performance in the Face the Nation interview reported in the post does not suggest his teflon layer will stand up to scratches in normal use.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Plausible but I feel you’re giving them too much credit. These are people that thought Neera Tanden would be a smart choice and an olive branch to the left. They think Bill Clinton should speak at a women’s empowerment event. They’re dumb as a sack of hammers. Most likely they own a set of Fauci dish towels, a set of Mueller prayer candles, and a Cuomosexual pillow buddy.

        I wish I had one ounce of the unmerited delusional self-confidence they and their bubble-dwelling friends possess. Life would be so much better if I thought everything I did was awesome and everybody except deplorables loved me.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Most likely they own a set of Fauci dish towels, a set of Mueller prayer candles, and a Cuomosexual pillow buddy.’ Cultists. You’re talking about cultists. Yeah, there is no real religious elements involved but they are still cultists.

          Reply
          1. petal

            Can vouch for the cultiness of it. Someone I’ve known for 35+ years stopped talking to me after I challenged them about Fauci being God. I don’t even bother trying anymore. It’s akin to TDS with a lot of them. If you say anything that questions the narrative, you’re done-they come at you with guns blazing and then you get cut out. There is no chance at redemption for you. Really sad to have these relationships destroyed, and for what. For a lot of them, it boils down to Fauci being believed to be the anti-Trump and thus a savior. He must not be questioned or tarnished. Their reactions, and the discussions, are so irrational. It’s a highly emotional thing for them-they immediately see red.

            Reply
  5. Alternate Delegate

    Quick quibble: the Scientific American article is dated January 22, 2020, not January 2, 2020.

    It would have been quite a feat to know on the 2nd what didn’t happen until the 10th – unless Operation Warp Speed involved capabilities in excess of those mentioned in public!

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > January 22, 2020, not January 2, 2020.

      Thanks, fixed. And the timeline is so crucial. Fauci makes “the decision” on January 10, and is interviewed about 12 days later. Media-wise, the man is a God.

      Reply
  6. Alex Cox

    Dr Fauci is too modest. He and the NIH were involved in invaluable ‘gain of function’ experiments with coronaviri in Wuhan prior to the outbreak.

    He’s also the most highly paid federal employee.

    Reply
  7. Louis Fyne

    Fauci talking to USA Today Feb. 18, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lhy2FgkP0Yw

    Reporter: Should people be worried?
    Fauci: ….”right now don’t worry about it (covid) be worried about influenza…..”

    Though to be fair, in context, that quote had a big hedging qualifier of “the situation may change.”

    of course the unanswerable question: how might have things changed if there was an international passenger travel ground stop (like post-9/11) in Feb. or Mar. 2020?

    Reply
  8. VietnamVet

    Dr. Anthony Fauci is a fixer with an ego great enough to take credit for everything. He is the appropriate for-profit healthcare figurehead.

    This article implies that the mRNA vaccines are saviors. CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s being scared of impending doom is more than fear mongering. I expect that it is true. The ruling political economic structure of the USA makes the vaccines the only practical response to the epidemic. Dr. Fauci et al. are simply incapable of establishing and implementing a working national public health system to eradicate coronavirus. It would terminate most of the for-profit healthcare in the USA except for concierge medicine.

    The vaccines also are a leaky bucket. Mutated Variants will keep appearing where the virus is endemic. Immunity may be short lived. Semi annual jabs for those who can afford it are likely. Over hundred and forty million humans have been injected with few adverse effects reported but any long-term reactions are a known unknown. Finally, AstraZeneca’s vaccine is reported to reduced transmission by some 50%. The other lipid encased mRNA jabs will likely be similar. Although the vaccines will significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths, they will not end transmission from vaccinated asymptomatic virus shedders to the uninfected and those who recovered from earlier variants.

    To end the pandemic, a functional national public health system to stop transmission is required. If not, Europe and the Americas will be sick and isolated from the rest of the world until the humans and the virus on these continents acclimatize to each other.

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  9. dpd

    CAN WE TRUST THESE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES?

    1) Pfizer Inc. – track record of bribery, engaging in illegal, corrupt marketing practices and suppressing adverse trial results. Fined $2.3 billion in 2009 for false claims.

    2) Moderna Inc.- has never successfully produced a medicine of any kind nor obtained FDA approval for any of it’s previous 9 “vaccine” candidates. Earned award for “worst example of profiteering and dysfunction in healthcare” by the Lown Institute;

    3) Johnson and Johnson Inc.- J&J has paid out billions of dollars for civil settlements and criminal activities. Fined $2.2 billion in 2013 for false claims and kickbacks. More recently J&J has been in the spotlight for its role in the opioid crisis. J&J has no history in vaccine development;

    4) AstraZeneca Inc.- AstraZeneca pled guilty to criminal and civil charges relating to the illegal marketing of the prostate cancer drug Zoladex. $520 million fine for illegally marketing anti-psychotic drug Seroquel for uses not approved by the FDA.

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  10. voteforno6

    So, the impetus for this article seems to be that Fauci didn’t interrupt someone during an interview. That seems a bit too nitpicky to put him on full blast.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Looks like you don’t read carefully. This is what Fauci said:

      “..the decision, we made on January the 10th, to go all out and develop a vaccine…”

      Lambert provides evidence to counter every element of Fauci’s claim, the Jan 10, the “go all out” when to the extent Fauci (not “we”) was (later) pushing for vaccine development, he wanted to pursue a rifle shot with Moderna, not anything like the full-bore OWS approach.

      And as for Fauci’s failure to correct the follow-on comment, which would be expected (he didn’t have to interrupt to do that), the Independent and Daily Mail both made the same reading, that it was Fauci taking credit, in their headlines on the interview.

      Reply
  11. Tom Stone

    This is entirely consistent with Fauci’s behavior during the AIDS crisis.
    “I accept the responsibility, but not the blame” has been his credo during his long career servicing the public.
    Look at how long he has held his little fiefdom, he is totally shameless and an expert bureaucratic in fighter or he wouldn’t be where he is.
    I watched him during the AIDS epidemic as people I knew died ugly deaths and was shocked that he got away with his dishonesty still being young and somewhat virginal ( My right ear was still pure).
    He is well qualified for the job he has if you look at the actual rather than the stated qualifications…

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  12. Dean

    One does not serve as long as Fauci in government without the ability to read which way the political tea leaves are blowing. He is a political operative first and a scientist second or third.

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  13. DJG, Reality Czar

    Naked Capitalism published this link to a long piece at USA Today. I was a tad skeptical, given that newspaper’s tendency toward shallow coverage, but it is a long, carefully researched, and insightful piece.

    The long and the short of it: Moderna had been working in the area for a number of years. This is what “science” is about–the long haul. Moderna had the experience and a prototype:

    https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2021/01/26/moderna-covid-vaccine-science-fast/6555783002/

    You will find in the article several scientists who aren’t getting much press indeed.

    Reply
    1. Jack Parsons

      Yes, there were two active drivers of development of vaccines that came together at the right time.
      1) SARS, H5N1 and MERS had scared every scientist in the business, and there was a large amount of active scientific work around influenza and coronavirus.
      2) mRNA technology had been developed by a few champions for just as long. There was an mRNA vaccine for Zika ready to be licensed and launched when the Zika epidemic petered out in 2015. Alledgedly they were all ready to go, but the money disappeared.

      Both of these topics had active champions, and funding for projects, among various members of the vaccine science community. Which meant that there were a lot of scientists who knew exactly what to do.

      Reply
  14. ArvidMartensen

    Fauci is director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to the president, a highly political post. You don’t get to stay in a highly political post for 40 years without being highly political.

    In my humble experience, being highly political requires the skills of being able to schmooze your bosses, being able to grab the attention of and then schmooze your boss’ bosses, being able to take credit for any good piece of work that others have done, being able to deflect blame for anything that goes pear-shaped that was your responsibility, and being able to avoid any work that has risk of failure attached to it.

    Fauci does fine on all of these skills.

    Reply
  15. ZM

    Lambert,

    you still give Fauci too much credit.

    Fauci is a director, i.e. a glorified manager. A manager is, by definition, someone incompetent at the technical/scientific level. It makes business sense to keep a technically competent position in his/her technical position. Contra-likewise, technically incompetent people with political instincts, connections and a bit of luck migrate higher up. Like it or not, it is Trump (never voted for him, never will) with his purely selfish drive to be reelected, and his money instincts, who threw money at big pharma to develop vaccines. It is BIG money which drives pharma. Fauci was dubious at first in his meeting with pharma CEOs and Trump. Trump ignored Fauci and pushed for warp speed development (I followed but did not save references).

    Watching Fauci on CNN early on, squirming, so happy to be interviewed and showing it, after having been bypassed by Trump tells you all. The guy is a narcissistic character. Fifteen minutes of fame is not enough for him. He wants it all.

    Reply

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