US President Donald Trump has chosen American Muslim Moncef Mohamed Slaoui to head a programme to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.
“Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientist will be Dr Moncef Slaoui, a world-renowned immunologist who helped create 14 new vaccines,” President Trump announced at a White House news briefing on Friday.
He added that these were a lot of vaccines in the time span of 10 years. The Morrocan-American immunologist was “one of the most respected men in the world in the production and formulation of vaccines,” President Trump said.
Slaoui was born in Agadir on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and has a PhD in Molecular Biology from the Free University of Brussels. He did post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School and the Tufts University School of Medicine.
The immunologist has worked with GlaxoSmithKline’s for 30 years and has headed its global Research and Development department. Slaoui has also led the company’s vaccines department.
“I’ve very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine,” said Dr Slaoui while introducing the programme at the White House briefing. “This data made me feel even more confident that we’ll be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.”
President Trump has had a mixed relation with Muslims and had previously blamed them for increased crime rates in USA while once suggesting that ‘Islam hates us’. For some, after all this, him choosing a Muslim for such a programme is a little ironic.