Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.
The leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s well-funded project to develop COVID-19 vaccines at record speed, have said they are running a transparent project. They have bristled at critics who say they make major decisions behind closed doors. But at a Senate subcommittee hearing today that focused on Warp Speed, scientists at the front of the effort, after repeated questioning, gave limited answers about the vaccine candidates they have chosen as frontrunners in the race and their selection criteria.
At the opening of the hearing—held by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies—Senator Patty Murray (D–WA) put the witnesses on notice that she wanted straightforward answers on many issues. “We’re going to need to hold this administration accountable to avoid repeating mistakes and delays,” Murray said. “The administration still has not provided any explanation of how it is selecting vaccine candidates, what the risks are of narrowing down that shortlist or addressed concerns about potential conflicts in contracts that predate this crisis.”