(Jeremy Loffredo, Anti-Empire) On May 15, President Trump appointed Moncef Slaoui, a board member of Moderna who until May 19 held more than $10.3 million in Moderna stock, as chief scientist of the nation’s effort to find a Covid-19 vaccine.
Slaoui, who calls himself a “venture capitalist,” is also on the board of directors at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a “public-private partnership” organization that has received more than $359 million from the Gates Foundation.
Slaoui also held leadership positions at GSK. While heading the company’s Research and Development, GSK pleaded guilty and paid $3 billion in what the U.S. Justice Department referred to as the “largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.” The fraud included the coverup of the link between the drug Paxil and suicidal and depressive side effects (predominantly in children), the coverup of the link between the drug Avandia and heart attacks, which the FDA estimated lead to 83,000 excess heart attacks, as well several bribery and illegal kickback schemes.
While he was GSK’s chairman of vaccines, Slaoui oversaw the development of the swine flu vaccine named Pandemrix, which was rushed to market without proper testing during the swine flu outbreak. The result was an unsafe shot that left at least 800 people with brain damage, 80 percent of them children. Since GSK only agreed to give governments the vaccine on the condition that it be indemnified from liability, U.K. taxpayer money was used to pay millions of pounds in compensation to the victims.
Slaoui was hired to be the Trump administration’s “vaccine czar” as a private contractor, not a government employee. This means, as Public Citizen explained, that Slaoui can “maintain an extensive web of conflicting financial interests without the need to divest of, recuse from, or disclose those conflicting interests.”
The corporate media likes to paint the Covid-19 response as a tug of war between anti-science blowhards like Donald Trump and “champions of science” like Bill Gates. However, Slaoui’s appointment to co-direct “Operation Warp Speed” indicates that, here, the Trump administration and the Gates Foundation are on the same team.
After entering his new Trump administration role, Slaoui declared that Moderna’s clinical trial data made him confident “we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.”