“On Monday, President Trump announced that the federal government is contracting with the Texas A&M University System Center for Innovation in Advanced Development & Manufacturing (TAMU CIADM) and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Texas (FDBTX) for the mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine. Under this contract, the federal government is allocating $265 million of CARES Act funding for the TAMU CIADM to produce 100 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Novavax. The contract is part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) initiative and funded from a $3.5 billion public-private funding allocation which I proposed to be included in H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Fortunately, with the strong support of Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, my proposal was included in the CARES Act which President Trump signed into law in March.
“President Trump’s announcement is great news for Texas, the Brazos Valley, and hardworking American families in the fight against COVID-19. The Trump Administration’s OWS initiative has been working to identify and foster the most promising countermeasures with a bold goal of delivering 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021. The Novavax vaccine is currently in Phase 2 of clinical trials. The TAMU CIADM order is part of OWS initiatives to partner with Novavax to manufacture doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccine as safe and effective.
“The TAMU CIADM is one of the two remaining public-private partnerships that were established in 2012 in a response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic. The CIADM’s were established to quickly develop and manufacture vaccines in response to future global pandemics. I was pleased to work with Texas A&M and the Obama Administration early in this process to help Texas A&M win the initial award to establish the TAMU CIADM. Shortly after the initial outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we started working to ensure that the TAMU CIADM was able to be fully engaged in the fight against the virus, and I am very pleased to see the Trump Administration take advantage of this impactful Brazos Valley resource and the funding for this purpose that was included in the CARES Act. A recent program hosted by John Sharp, the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, provides an excellent overview about the background and capabilities of the TAMU CIADM and FDBTX.
“The spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus has renewed the focus on the need for domestic vaccine production and manufacturing and the TAMU CIADM is a tremendous tool to fight the virus and future pandemics right here in Texas. This renewed focus, coupled with misinformation, counterfeit drugs, and tainted pharmaceutical ingredients from China and elsewhere exemplify why we cannot rely on foreign sources for critical pharmaceutical resources. While the Trump Administration through its implementation of OWS is leading the fight against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, I strongly encourage Congress to take bold bipartisan actions to restore a safe, secure, responsive, and affordable American pharmaceutical supply chain for our hardworking families.”