Secret group of scientists backed by billionaires working on 'Manhattan Project' to stop COVID-19
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A secret group of America's top scientists funded by a group of billionaires say they believe they have the answer to combatting the coronavirus pandemic and intend to make their proposals known to the White House.
The group consisting of a dozen doctors is led by 33-year-old Dr Thomas Cahill - a physician-turned-venture capitalist.
Cahill has managed to pull together what he hopes will be enough clout and financial backing to influence policy decisions at the highest level, including the White House, as plans are made on how to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and defeat the disease.
The scientists and the billionaire backers who are funding their work are describing their plan as a 'Manhattan Project' for the age of coronavirus, reports Daily Mail.
The original Manhattan Project was a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons and helped develop the atomic bomb. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada.
The first-ever nuclear device was detonated in a test in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Less than a month later it was unleashed on unsuspecting Japan, when the United States dropped a massive atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which killed about 70,000 people.
This time around however, the plan is to nuke the virus by bringing together the best brains in science while using money to bring forward some more 'unorthodox' ideas.
The 12 doctors describe themselves as the Scientists to Stop Covid-19, and consist of chemical biologists, an immunobiologist, a neurobiologist, a chronobiologist, an oncologist, a gastroenterologist, an epidemiologist and a nuclear scientist.
By way of example as to the caliber of such a group, biologist Michael Rosbash who won a Nobel Prize in 2017 said, 'There's no question that I'm the least qualified.'
The group's operation has not been reported, until now.
They are currently acting as a go-between for pharmaceutical companies who need a 'reputable link to Trump administration decision makers.'
So far, a 17-page report has been compiled that calls for various trials of more unorthodox methods to be tried as patients battle the virus.
They include using drugs that previously succeeded against treating the deadly Ebola virus. The idea this time around they would be used to treat coronavirus victims with the same drugs, only with a far greater dosage than has been used in the past.
The Food and Drug Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs appear to be on side and have even cut regulations and red tape in the hope that as many trials as possible can be sped through without having to wait, as might normally be the case.
The report has been viewed by cabinet members and Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the Trump administration's coronavirus task force. The National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins has also seen the report and said he agreed with most of the recommendations, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For a 33-year-old, Dr Cahill's has amassed quite the rolodex of connections through his investment firm and include billionaires, Peter Thiel, Jim Palotta and Michael Milken who are all firmly backing the group.
Cahill acknowledges that having such backing has allowed him to reach government officials in the time of the crisis when they would otherwise be fully occupied however the group is already being consulted.
Cahill and the group are already advising the Trump administration through phonecalls to Nick Ayers, Mike Pence's longtime aide.
Importantly, nobody who is involved with the group stands to make money from any discoveries or developments.
Those who are involved and donating their financial backing are doing so through to build their own connections and 'through levelheaded thinking for the benefit of society as a whole', according to the Journal.
A member of the group and Harvard University chemist summed up the ethos: 'We may fail, but if it succeeds, it could change the world.'