• US Army Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of US soldiers in Europe, is working remotely after possibly being exposed to the coronavirus during a recent conference.
  • Cavoli took command of the US Army in Europe in January 2018 and speaks Italian, Russian, and French.
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The Army general in charge of US soldiers in Europe and his staff are working remotely after they may have been exposed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) during a recent conference.

“Out of an abundance of caution and following recommended protocols, he and others potentially affected are self-monitoring and working remotely to fulfill their command duties and responsibilities,” Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a statement on Monday, referring to Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli.

Cavoli assumed command of US Army forces in Europe in January 2018 and speaks Italian, Russian, and French.

“The health and welfare of our Soldiers, Families, Civilians, Allies and Partners is a critical priority,” McCarthy said. “We’ll continue to provide them the most up-to-date information on appropriate measures to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.”

The Army is conducting daily assessments of the situation, the secretary said, adding that the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the US Army Medical Research and Development Command “are working on research efforts to control, contain and prevent the virus.”

Army researchers are currently working to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, Army officials told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.

The first phase of testing, which involves testing on mice, is underway, said Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The next step is to test the vaccine on larger animals, such as monkeys.

It is unclear when human trials will begin, but Modjarrad said a vaccine capable of combating the coronavirus is at least a year away.

“The earliest, earliest, earliest [is] probably 12 to 18 months to get something out to the population,” he said.

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