Secretary of the Army Visits USAMRDC, Touts COVID-19 Funding Boost
Following a tour of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's (USAMRDC) U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) on March 19, U.S. Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy delivered a series of key updates in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We got to spend a couple of hours with some extraordinary Americans who are at the forefront of this effort," said McCarthy during a late-morning news conference at USAMRIID, which received cultures of the virus earlier this month for testing purposes.
Notably, McCarthy referenced the importance of the USAMRDC's three key lines of effort in the battle against COVID-19 – prevention, detection, and treatment – and touched upon a $900 million injection of funding to the Command as part of the federal government's plan to combat the virus. In addition, McCarthy stated the USAMRDC is currently pursuing five separate vaccine tracks internally, while also mentioning the development of several dozen vaccine candidates across both the private and public sectors.
Other key Army leaders joining McCarthy at the news conference were quick to note their individual efforts to adapt to the virus and, in turn, mitigate the overall impact to the Force itself. General James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army, stated the Army has already begun testing new and potential recruits for the virus, and confirmed that additional testing of currently-enlisted Soldiers over the next 30-60 days will help determine the overall risk to the Force. From there, leaders say, they'll then be able to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the overall mission.
During his remarks, McConville was also quick to voice support for the Army doctors, physicians, and scientists working to develop a vaccine.
"We are proud of them and we support what they're doing," said McConville.
The visit from Army leaders comes on the heels of a similar visit to USAMRIID by U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on March 17. During that visit, Esper also highlighted the USAMRDC's efforts to develop a vaccine, while touting USAMRIID's capabilities to help test vaccine candidates from corporate partners should those entities reach the milestone first.
During the March 19 news conference, Brigadier General Michael J. Talley, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) and Fort Detrick, Maryland, stated the additional efforts would not impact other current research projects.
"With respect to COVID-19 we are expecting no disruptions," said Talley.
For continuous updates on the USAMRDC response to COVID-19, please visit the following page.