MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — President Donald Trump visited a Morrisville company Monday that is doing crucial work in the ongoing effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Trump toured the Fujifilm BioTech Center to get a closer look at the potential vaccine.
The facility is manufacturing components of the potential vaccine that was developed by Novavax. The process normally takes several months but has been compressed down into just several weeks.
The president delivered remarks at the facility where he discussed “Operation Warp Speed,” which is his administration’s effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
Trump said said work on a vaccine is progressing “in record time.” The president said “Operation Warp Speed” is also “directing a colossal industrial mobilization” that hasn’t occurred since the end of World War II.
He said Moderna’s vaccine entered phase three clinical trials Monday morning. This is the final step before approval.
“There’s been nothing like this in terms of speed, nothing even close,” Trump said.
The president mentioned a second vaccine could enter phase three in the coming days.
The Novavax vaccine, which is being partly developed in Morrisville, could enter phase three in the coming weeks.
“Keep a safe, social distance and wear masks when appropriate,” Trump said.
Air Force Once landed at RDU International Airport around 2:50 p.m.
Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina, along with House Speaker Tim Moore, met Trump at the airport.
Walker sids both his parents had the virus and are doing better. Walker, a Republican, says the visit from Trump is a significant moment for the state and in the fight against the virus.
At the facility, Republican Reps. Richard Hudson, David Rouzer, Greg Murphy, and Dan Bishop were in the audience for Trump’s remarks as well as Sen. Thom Tillis.
“The president coming here to North Carolina shows us how important the state is for us politically and also the great role we can play here in North Carolina developing a pathway out,” said state Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley. “The state is obviously tremendously important for him in terms of the overall election map, but it’s also terribly important in terms of the economy.”
The pandemic also has dramatically altered how President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaigns operate in the final months before the November election.
Biden leaders by 3 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polling in North Carolina. In the five most recent polls, Biden has led Trump between one and seven percentage points. Trump won North Carolina in 2016.
Ahead of the president’s visit, North Carolina Democrats blasted his administration’s handling of the pandemic, saying Trump failed to take the virus seriously enough.
“President Trump is a hypocrite. He does not believe in science or medicine, and here is showing up for this photo op,” said Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the NC Democratic Party. “The failure to be proactive at the federal level is what has allowed this situation to spiral. It has led to the lockdowns and social restrictions most of us are living with.”