The Departments for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy (BEIS) and Health and Social Care (DHSC) have launched a Vaccine Taskforce to facilitate the creation of a vaccine for COVID-19. The Government also announced that 21 research projects have shared £14 million in funding.
Five work streams will be conducted by the Taskforce:
- supporting the discovery of potential coronavirus vaccines by working with the public and private sector, rapidly mobilising funding, supporting leading academics and identifying ways to fast-track clinical trials
- preparing the UK as a leader in clinical vaccine testing and manufacturing, working with companies already at the forefront of vaccine development
- reviewing government regulations to facilitate rapid and safe vaccine trials
- developing funding and operational plans for the procurement and delivery of vaccines
- building on the UK’s research and development expertise to support international efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine
Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, said:
“UK scientists are working as fast as they can to find a vaccine that fights coronavirus, saving and protecting people’s lives. We stand firmly behind them in their efforts.
“The Vaccine Taskforce is key to coordinating efforts to rapidly accelerate the development and manufacture of a potential new vaccine, so we can make sure it is widely available to patients as soon as possible.”
In the same announcement, the Government revealed its award of funding to:
- The University of Oxford testing an anti-malarial drug believed to have efficacy against some aspects of COVID-19
- Imperial College London testing a vaccine against coronavirus that aims for the body to produce more protective antibodies
- Public Health England developing a new antibody that could offer protection against infection and disease progression of coronavirus
- Public Health England studying how COVID-19 can be transmitted from person-to-person by determining how long it can survive in the air and on different materials found in hospitals and households like fabric, plastics, metals and ceramics
Read the full Taskforce and funding announcement here.