(NBC News)  As coronavirus sweeps across the country, there is a new massive undertaking to counter it just as quickly: “Operation Warp Speed” – a public-private partnership aimed at developing a vaccine in record time.

Top health official Dr. Anthony Fauci is part of the team, and says while research is in the early trial stages, but if all goes well a vaccine could be ready for distribution by January.

“We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it’s safe and it’s effective. I think that is doable,” Dr. Fauci said.

AstraZeneca, one of the world’s top drugmakers, is already scaling up production with research still underway.
 
“Our goal is to have a vaccine that can be available to the public on an emergency use basis by the end of the year,” says AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot.
 
The hunt for a miracle drug comes as more stay-at-home orders expire in states where COVID-19 cases are still rising. 

White House social distancing guidelines expired Thursday evening, and more than two dozen states will be in some phase of reopening by Friday.