The Trump administration is narrowing down candidates for a new post to coordinate the development of COVID-19 therapies and vaccines, with a former National Institutes of Health (NIH) director emerging as a leading choice, reported Politico.
According to five people with knowledge of the matter, Elias Zerhouni, who led the NIH during the George W. Bush administration, is among the favorites to fill the role.
Zerhouni is thought to be the favorite, said two people, and one person said that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar personally prefers Zerhouni for the role.
The news source said Zerhouni, a radiologist who led global R&D for Sanofi between 2011 and 2018, has professional ties to Azar, who served as HHS deputy secretary while Zerhouni was NIH director.
Meanwhile, three people said the administration also had considered Calico CEO Art Levinson for the role, while two people said officials had also discussed Moncef Slaoui, the former chairman of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline.
However, reached by phone, Slaoui said he had no plans to join the administration, the news source said.
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