Trump’s Vaccine Chief Has Vast Ties to Drug Industry, Posing Possible Conflicts

The chief scientist brought on to lead the Trump administration’s vaccine efforts has spent the last several days trying to disentangle pieces of his stock portfolio and his intricate ties to big pharmaceutical interests, as critics point to the potential for significant conflicts of interest.

The scientist, Moncef Slaoui, is a venture capitalist and a former longtime executive at GlaxoSmithKline. Most recently, he sat on the board of Moderna, a Cambridge, Mass., biotechnology firm with a $30 billion valuation that is pursuing a coronavirus vaccine. He resigned when President Trump named him last Thursday to the new post as chief adviser for Operation Warp Speed, the federal drive for coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

Just days into his job, the extent of Dr. Slaoui’s financial interests in drug companies has begun to emerge: The value of his stock holdings in Moderna jumped nearly $2.4 million, to $12.4 million when the company

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Haphazard Rollout of Coronavirus Drug Frustrates Doctors

When the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency approval last week for an antiviral drug, remdesivir, to treat hospitalized coronavirus patients, many doctors were overjoyed. The drug is the first shown to be even mildly effective against the virus.

But bafflement soon followed as doctors and hospitals tried to obtain the drug. Small community hospitals with few beds received remdesivir, while medical centers besieged with cases were denied.

Only four hospitals in Massachusetts, for example, are known to have received remdesivir: three small community hospitals and Massachusetts General, a Harvard University teaching hospital.

Officials at Mass General said they had not even asked for the drug. Yet other major hospitals were left out, including Boston Medical Center, which has many vulnerable African-American patients.

“This is crazy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Mass General. The hospital is giving its small supply of remdesivir — 26 cases

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A Drug Cocktail Hastens Recovery in Some Coronavirus Patients

With vaccines still months, maybe years, into the future, researchers are rushing to determine whether existing drugs can be used to treat the coronavirus. In the United States, only one — remdesivir — has been shown to be effective in speeding recovery.

In the new study, published in The Lancet, researchers at six public hospitals in Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong followed 127 adults with Covid-19, including 86 on the three-drug cocktail and 41 in a comparison group.

Their study was a preliminary Phase 2 trial, intended to see if a treatment works. (It does not determine whether the treatment is better than other options, but there are few other options for the coronavirus.)

The patients who were started on the cocktail within seven days of having their first symptoms stopped shedding the virus — meaning they were recovering and no longer infectious — earlier than patients

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Live Updates: F.D.A. Plans to Announce Emergency Use of Coronavirus Drug

The early results of a federal trial showing that treatment with remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug, can speed recovery in infected patients were heralded as “very optimistic” at the White House by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That helped the S&P 500 gain nearly 3 percent on a day the Commerce Department reported the worst quarterly contraction in the nation’s gross domestic product since 2008, during the Great Recession.

“The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story,” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, said on “Fox & Friends.” “And I think that that’s really, you know, what needs to be told.”

At a televised meeting at the White House with business leaders on Wednesday afternoon, the president went further, talking of seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel very strongly.” He waxed at

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