Last month Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey called for the bold and urgent launch of what he called “a Manhattan Project-type approach” to fight the coronavirus pandemic given the enormity of the health and economic impact, increasingly even harming US defense readiness.
Apparently there has been such a group operating behind the scenes, but very unlike the original Manhattan Project it’s a private sector initiative, funded by a tiny network of ultra-rich industry titans working closely with government contacts. Meet “the secret group of scientists and billionaires pushing Trump on a Covid-19 plan” profiled in a lengthy Wall Street Journal investigation Monday:
These scientists and their backers describe their work as a lockdown-era Manhattan Project, a nod to the World War II group of scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb. This time around, the scientists are marshaling brains and money to distill unorthodox ideas gleaned from around the globe.
They call themselves Scientists to Stop Covid-19, and they include chemical biologists, an immunobiologist, a neurobiologist, a chronobiologist, an oncologist, a gastroenterologist, an epidemiologist and a nuclear scientist. Of the scientists at the center of the project, biologist Michael Rosbash, a 2017 Nobel Prize
The until now secretive group is led by a 33-year-old physician-turned-venture capitalist, Tom Cahill, and is described as an elite go-between the pharmaceutical industry and Trump administration decision-makers, or an “ad hoc review board” of sorts pursuing cutting edge outside the box ideas.