DoD has announced that Army researchers are collaborating with other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, industry and academia in the US and abroad to detect, prevent and treat COVID-19.
Dr. Nelson Michael, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research said collaboration would help ensure efforts are not duplicative, adding that robust testing would begin soon, with phase one already underway.
Phase one of testing includes experimenting with potential vaccines in mice, to be followed by larger animals such as monkeys. Human testing is still a ways off.
Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff Surgeon, stated that the department accepts and is adapting CDC guidance. “Our policy has to cover the soldier in Africa as much as it does the sailor who’s on a ship somewhere in the Pacific, or the family member or retiree who’s here in the continental United States,” Friedrichs said.
“So, we start with whatever the federal guidance is, and then we add additional guidance to help clarify what the standards are and how we’re going to minimize the risk of force across the world.”
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said separately that the department is “working feverishly” on a vaccine, and communicating regularly with operational commanders to assess how the virus might impact exercises and ongoing operations around the world, noting that at least one command post exercise in South Korea has been postponed, but that others such as Exercise Cobra Gold in Thailand are continuing.