White House reveals plan to fast-track vaccine timeline

Called Operation Warp Speed, the government and military will team with leaders in industry to work toward a vaccine by January 2021.
6:43 | 04/30/20

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Transcript for White House reveals plan to fast-track vaccine timeline
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a Thursday night. And we begin tonight with news on the effort to speed up a vaccine here in the U.S., as president trump's guidelines to slow the spread are set to expire today. Many states slowly set to carefully reopen amid concerns over triggering a possible second wave. All of this as the number of coronavirus cases is still rising in at least 18 states. The death toll in the U.S. Is now nearing 63,000 and there is word tonight president trump wants a vaccine by the end of the year. Reportedly calling for hundreds of millions of doses by the beginning of the year. Dr. Anthony Fauci tonight on whether that's possible, making the doses before we know it works and which vaccine the team will choose. This comes 24 hours after the president and Dr. Fauci said the drug rep December veer shows early signs it might be able to block the virus and shorten the duration of symptoms. Set to be fast-tracked by the fda for emergency use. All of this tonight as the president levels a new accusation just a short time ago. It comes hours after U.S. Intelligence officials weighed in, in a rare move, on the origins of the virus in Wuhan, China, acknowledging they are investigating where it came from, whether in a lab or in a market or elsewhere. But so far, saying they agree with the scientific community that it was not man-made or genetically modified. The president saying late today, he has seen information that gives him, quote, a high degree of confidence the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan institute. We will carefully get to it all tonight, and we begin with ABC's whit Johnson in New York. Reporter: Less than 24 hours after coronavirus task force announced promising results for a drug that could help treat the virus, remdesivir, tonight comes word the president is working to fast track something else, a vaccine. The plan, called operation warp speed, is the administration's new effort to speed up the timeline for a vaccine by the end of the year. I hope we're going to have a vaccine and we're going to fast track it like you've never seen before. Reporter: The government and the military teaming up with industry to mass produce do doses of the vaccine by January 2021. You know is in charge of it, honestly? I am. I'll tell you, I'm really in charge of it. Reporter: Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci pressed, is that feasible? I was saying in January and February that it would be a year to 18 months. So January is a year. So -- so it isn't that muddy from what I had originally said. You don't wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing. You, at risk, proactively start making it, assuming it's going to work. Reporter: What's unclear is which vaccine the white house task force is going to take a chance on. Also today, vice president Mike pence seen for the first time wearing a mask while touring a ventilator facility, after an uproar 48 hours ago, for not wearing one at a visit to the mayo clinic. Today, the vice president's wife saying he didn't know. It was actually after he left mayo clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask. Reporter: And after questions were raised weeks ago about where the virus came from, tonight, the director of national intelligence offering a rare statement, agreeing with "The wide scientific consensus that the covid-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified." But adding, they will continue to examine "If it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan." The president asked moments ago. Do you see anything that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan institute was the origin of the virology? Yes I have. Reporter: The president wouldn't reveal what the information is. In New York, unprecedented steps to fight the spread of the virus, by sanitizing public transit. Images of the homeless sleeping on subways, prompting the governor to shut down subway and commuter trains overnight, starting next week. Every 24 hours to be disinfected. Front line workers will be offered free rides. They're on those trains. They deserve to be kept safe. They deserve to have a clean, safe ride to and from work and they're going to have it. Sand we're going to move heaven and Earth to make sure that happens. Reporter: The numbers statewide on the decline, but still, 306 people died in just 24 hours. And what is his diagnosis? Reporter: In Illinois, the peak not expected for another two weeks. Our Alex Perez with paramedics in Chicago. This company responding to 150 calls in one day, most of them covid cases. So this is the new routine every time you arrive to a call? Yep, every time. Every time. Reporter: In California, the governor cracking down, closing beaches in Orange county after large crowds flocked to the coast last weekend. The images we saw on a few of our beach were disturbing. I was very candid about that. Reporter: Los Angeles county reporting its largest single day surge in cases on Wednesday. But the mayor of L.A. Is looking ahead, announcing an ambitious plan to offer a coronavirus test to all residents, regardless of symptoms. Across the country, at least 32 states now easing some restrictions by the end of next week. But cases of the virus still rising in at least 18 states. Tonight, the fda expected to green light emergency treatment with that promising drug remdesivir. Chriselda Davis believes it saved her. You ready to blow it out? You got enough breath? Yes. Reporter: Here celebrating her 46th birthday after surviving 11 days on a ventilator. I'm very grateful. I'm very, very grateful to be alive. Reporter: Chriselda's husband watched her improve three days into the treatment. Her lungs had begun to clear up and vitals was getting better. Very hopeful, we know more study is needed, but that was great to see. Whit back with us tonight. And I want to get back to those plans for a vaccine, they're hoping by January. So many questions on this, whit, tonight from people at home, I'm sure. How many doses does the task force think they can produce and in order to produce that number, do they have to choose a vaccine before knows it works. And I took note of a number from the world health organization today, there are more than 100 vaccines in the works around the so, how do you pick which one to bet on? Reporter: Exactly, David. That's right. 100 vaccines in the works, including eight which are currently approved for clinical trials. Dr. Fauci says it's possible they could produce hundreds of millions of doses to be ready by January, but at this point, it's unclear which vaccine will actually work and which vaccine the task force will ultimately bet behind. David? Whit Johnson, thank you, as And now to the American

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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