The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Operation Warp Speed will be headed by Moncef Slaiou as chief advisor and General Gustave Perna as the chief operating officer. Slaiou is described as a venture capitalist and formerly the director of the vaccine development effort at GlaxoSmithKline, while Perna, a four-star general, is in charge of the U.S. Materiel Command. The principal objective of Operation Warp Speed is to have “substantial quantities” of a safe and effective vaccine available to Americans by January 2021. The program enjoys the financial support of Congress via nearly $10 billion of supplemental funding through the CARES Act.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Applied Biosciences Corp., of Salt Lake City, alleging that the company had issued a March 31, 2020, press release, stating that Applied would ship COVID-19 test kits for public use. The SEC said the company had no intention of making such kits available to the public, but rather intended the move to draw contacts for health care organizations and others to boost sales. The false and misleading statements are said to have cause the company’s stock price and trading volume “to soar.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said Ashley Hoobler Parris, of Lawrenceville, Ga., has been arrested for allegedly filing false claims for Medicare payment for unnecessary cancer genomic and COVID-19 tests. The complaint alleges that the fraudulent behavior commenced in October 2018 and that Parris received kickbacks for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries, and that Parris commenced with fraudulent referrals for COVID-19 testing accompanied by respiratory pathogen panel tests.